I belong in 1950. And not a minute later. This is because of technology. I'll explain.

Technology and I have a hard time together (I imagine the feelings are one way. But I'm not totally sure that techology is sans feelings, or that it is apathetic about me if it has them). Already at age 27 I'm that bewildered old man who gets lost in conversations that use words that start with "I" and end with another word that by itself doesn't greatly confuse me, but seems to mean something entirely different in the context I'm discussing here. Normally when people use these words, I nod thoughtfully and respond with something vague like, "communication and entertainment really do drive innovation, don't they . . ." assuming that whatever they're discussing has something to do with either communication or entertainment. I then change the subject to something I'm very knowledgeable on, such as the benefits of having a Snuggy (I'm wearing one right now, and I love it with all of my heart).

Part of the problem is that I don't seem to stay up to date with this stuff, sometimes finding out that certain technology exists when I see my 7 year old niece playing with her parents' 2004 hand-me-down devices that are more advanced than anything I believed existed because they are more advanced than anything I ever saw on the Jetsons (I recognize that I should probably update my future-technology-predictor-media from a 1960s cartoon that was created at a time when it was still ok for teachers to beat children in school (the good old days)).

Recently gmail has developed a very confusing level of consciousness (or should I say, recently I've become conscious of this--this may not be a new thing. See previous paragraph). Whenever I attempt to send an email, gmail is right there with me making all sorts of suggestions like a nosey coworker standing over my shoulder reading the intimate contents of each and every message. The problem is, gmail is a 6 out of 10 on the intelligence scale, which makes it just smart enough to be annoying, but not quite smart enough to be helpful (I know some people who fall in this category, which is how I know where to rate gmail).  

To illustrate, when I went to Europe a few months ago I sent the occasional mass email to my loved ones to ensure each of them that I had yet to be human-trafficked (or had I?). Thanks to the world's-colliding email distribution list that included people who will only ever have the chance of meeting when I die and my family throws a very elegant funeral, now whenever I try to email Joe Shmo about crazy wild party weekend, gmail insists that I add grandma and her entire Bible group to the email as well. Additionally, if ever I use the word "attach" in any form, gmail has a meltdown when I try to send the email without actually attaching a document, concerned for my eternal salvation that if I send an irretrievable email without an intended document, my life may fall in shambles. Normally I ignore gmail, creeped out that it thinks it knows what I want, but also strangely disappointed that it isn't correct more often.

Apart from gmail, technology poses other problems for me as well. I'm still generally concerned that we all carry with us our own portable communication devices, all day, every day, each with great potential for total social destruction. Since 2005 (when I got my first cell phone), I have checked my phone every 45 seconds on the dot to make sure I haven't inadvertently called someone and let them listen to whatever embarrassing broadcast I'm currently engaged in. The only five times in the last six years I've missed my appointment to check, I have unfortunately inadvertently called someone, singing dramatically at the very top of my lungs the most embarrassing songs I know (in 2007 this constituted a ten minute message on the voicemail of my roommate's girlfriend, featuring such songs as the Spice Girls "Tell me what you want, what you really really want," "How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" from The Sound of Music, and "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins, sung in excessive vibrato (twice)).

Send help.

~It Just Gets Stranger