The Eyes Don't Have It

I would say that I recently celebrated my forty-seventh birthday, but “celebrating” isn’t really the right word. It came, it went. I received a few funny cards. My husband took me out to dinner. That about covers it.

I don’t feel like I’m getting older. Thanks largely, I suppose, to yoga, I don’t have any more aches or pains than I did ten years ago. If anything, I’m more flexible than I’ve ever been. Okay, I really don’t like the fact that my metabolism has slowed to a crawl and I have to work twice as hard and eat half as much and the numbers on the scales continue to creep upward. But what is beginning to bug me more than any of that is the conflict between my vision and modern technology.

Last week, my old handheld tape recorder died. Too much time left in the console of my sun-baked car, I suppose. So I splurged and bought a tiny digital recorder.

I like gadgets. At least, those that are useful to me. I haven’t ventured into the realm of I-Pods yet. I don’t even know what one is. Or if I spelled it right. But I loved my old tape recorder. I do a lot of plotting in the car. I make verbal sticky notes to myself. “Drop a yoga brochure at the bank for Toni.” Lines of dialogue hit me while doing 65 MPH on the highway and disappear by the time I get to my destination and can write them down. So the recorder has been extremely useful. I figured, a high-tech one would be cool.

But there are two big problems with this digital one. First, even with my $17 reading glasses from Wal-Mart, I can barely make out all the bitsy little words and symbols. What I thought was STOP was actually PLAY. What I thought was PAUSE was really RECORD. The second problem is the directions. They used the same micro-sized font on them as on the recorder. Plus, the recorder has different files and it has a clock and a few other features, too, if all the tiny black blurbs on the screen are any indication. I did set the clock. Unfortunately, it’s set in military time and I’ve got it backwards. So while it’s really 10:21AM, the recorder screen says 22:21.

I don’t consider myself techno-challenged. I know how to use the DVD player and remote. Friends call me for advice on how to do things on their computer. All the clocks are set on my electronic gizmos. But this digital recorder with its three pages of directions is not old-eyes-friendly!

Note to all the technology wizards out there: the baby boomers are getting older. If you’re going to keep making our gadgets (recorders, cell phones, etc) smaller, could you at least make the print in the directions BIGGER???

OK. I’m off to find a magnifying glass so I can read the directions and figure out how to play back the stuff I've recorded. I hit a few buttons this morning to try to fix the clock and fear I may have erased everything.

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