But I read BOOKS!

That’s what some of my dear friends say to me when I ask if they have e-readers.  Or when I say something nice about television.  In this era of so many options for taking in information, hackles can easily be raised with the simplest questions: “Do you have an e-reader?”  NO! Okay.  Okay. Discussing her kitchen renovations, I asked a friend where she intended to put the television currently gracing the space.  She said she and her husband were contemplating not having television at all anywhere in their lives.  When I leaped into the breach like a cat after a flying feather and expressed dismay at the very idea of it, she said that she and her husband read.  Umhum.  So do I.

We are all so judgmental, aren’t we?  I was aghast at the idea of not having the option of switching on a television set to watch at least significant events that reading really can’t quite cover.  Reading about Mrylie Evers–Williams deliver her prayer at the Inauguration couldn’t begin to compare with seeing her read it in her resonant voice, so full of gentle dignity. I believe I’m in the minority among my friends in my delight in television.

I don’t use television for company or leave it on all day as background noise, something considered very low-rent, while leaving the radio on is thought to be just fine as long as it's NPR, of course. I destination watch and my choices run the gamut from BBC News through Jon Stewart and straight to HGTV, one of my great loves.  And, I read.

I recently called an old friend to wish her a good 2013.  We’ve managed to hold on to one another for more than fifty years even though she has no computer and I like telephones least of all our technology assets.  Betty joked that she knows I love her because I called her up.  She’s right.  As young women she was always bolder and more adventuresome than I was, so I asked her if she’d given any more thought to trying to learn her way around a computer.  She snapped at me and explained that, at 78, she had no interest in learning anything new.  She was done.  Finished. “And, anyway, I READ!”  Later in the conversation she said quietly that she really is afraid to try to learn what seems so daunting to her.

I’m rarely sleepless but I was last night so I tuned up my e-reader and finished a book.  How delightful to lie there in the dark, despite my freezing hands, and sink into that small lighted screen and follow Ruth Rendell down her always delightful mystery path.  It is near heresy for me to say that I often prefer my e-reader to most physical books.  I love both.  I love it all.

As we age, we will all drop off the technology truck at some stop along the way but, according to experts, the challenge of trying to keep up and learning to use what suits our lives from the old technologies like television to whatever is about to come over the horizon, is a stimulating and effective adventure in pushing our brains in the same way we try to exercise our bodies to give them the best chance of holding us up.

It is in that spirit that I pass along this link to an article by Jane E. Brody, called E-Health Opportunties for Seniors, about the advantages of using computers to support your health needs and objectives.  I liked it so much I printed it, proving that for all this wonderful technology, there is nothing quite like holding the words in your hand.


Lyn May is WWN's editor

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