My hubs is a vintage guy. He loves all things retro. If I let him select furnishings for the house, you could reasonably assume Judy Jetson was his decorator. He likes ’69 mustangs, turntables for his albums, cassette players for his tapes, and he’d turn our kitchen into a ’50s diner if I left town for more than a day.
He also likes to listen to books on tape (literally), and “mix tapes” that he painstakingly recorded years ago from his frat-house-worthy album collection. My enthusiastic efforts to introduce him to Kindle audio books or an iPod for his music have been met with eye-rolling and deep sighs (okay, whines) of “Noooo, I’m not spending that much time on the computer. It’s okay for you, because you like computers. I don’t.”
Don’t even get him started on the whole cell phone thing. Those, he will tell you, were created by Satan to destroy an entire generation’s ability to communicate in real life and who apparently believe that “you’re” and “your” are interchangeable and both spelled U-R. When I showed him what the iPhone can do, he announced, in no uncertain terms, that he’d rather swap his already-archaic flip phone for a Jitterbug. “I don’t want to take pictures, text-speak to my friends, or play music from my phone. And no self-respecting guy would ask his phone for directions. I just want to make a damn call.”
Then one day, he came home from work, all bummed and frustrated because his boom box finally went on the fritz and started eating his favorite cassette tapes (for those of you born after 1980, ask your parents), leaving him without music on the construction site. Here was my chance. Nobody sells boom boxes or cassettes anymore. If he wanted to hear books or music at work, he was going to have to embrace technology. Welcome to a new era, baby.
The next morning, I handed him my Kindle. “What’s this?” he growled. “It’s an eReader from Amazon. It’s called a Kindle.” “An eReader?” he replied, “That’s a stupid name. Sounds like eColi. Don’t want it.” He handed it back to me and started out the door. “Trust me,” I smiled, “It’s got books on it.” Now I had his attention. “Whole books?” he asked, “On that little thing?” “You’ll be a veritable public library,” I assured him. I showed him how to turn it on, pick a title from my list, and adjust the volume, then headed him out the door to work.
A couple of hours later, I got a call. “What the hell are you listening to, woman?? Joe picked ’50 Shades of Grey.’ His wife told him it was suspense. Well, it’s not. It’s PORN. Three guys called their wives, and one went home for the day. We want some answers.” Hmmm. Seems it’s not so funny when we do it, is it? (Probably not a good time to tell him it’s a series. And a movie.) I told him that the first rule of technology is “Them who owns the device, selects the contents.” In other words, my Kindle, my books; your Kindle, your books. He agreed to buy his own if I’d help with the downloads. Done.
One down, two to go.
The next day, I gently tried to introduce the iPod. “It’s got 1000 songs it,” I said. “I don’t know a thousand songs,” he replied, “And who the hell needs 1000 songs??” I clicked on iTunes and showed him how easy it would be for him to make a playlist of his own. My demonstration just solidified his aversion to technology. Hubs was decidedly unimpressed with the whole iTunes scroll-select-download-playlist process. “All those stupid passwords and song selections take too long,” he said, “and there’s too many choices. I’ve got shit to do. I’ll just borrow yours.”
Oh, this was going to be interesting.
Hubs is into AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Bruce Springsteen, and somebody called “Meatloaf.” My iPod Faves playlist is 976 songs by Elvis, Lesley Gore, Toby Keith, and Tom Jones. My idea of classic rock is the Eagles’ guitar riff on “Hotel California.” Nevertheless, I handed him my neon pink iPod and Bose portable docking station and watched him drive off, back to the job site, ready to fire it up.
A short while later, there’s The Call. “Seriously??” he said, “What’s New Pussycat?? Where do you get this stuff?!”
Laugh all you want, buddy, but I can hear the entire crew singing boisterously in the background on the “Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa” parts. Somebody’s liking it. But then came “Achy Breaky Heart,” by Billy Ray Cyrus, and he admitted defeat. “I’m coming home, and we’re going to get me that eColi thing that plays books and my own i-whatever-you-call-it, so I can listen to music that won’t make me the laughingstock of entire construction industry.” (Big sigh here) “And will you show me again how your dumb phone works? I’m probably going to need one of those, too.”
Wait ’til he finds out about “apps.”