By Teresa Swartz Roberts
Blog 38. Copyright 2020
I was only a toddler when The Jetsons debuted. I think I learned the theme song lyrics while I was learning to talk.
His boy Elroy,
Jane, his wife…
Jane was the one who was pretty much in charge at home. I could tell because she’s the one George called for when he was in trouble on the treadmill that had a mind of its own:
Jane didn’t seem to have a job outside the home, although telecommuting was an option, but she seemed to have plenty to do being a futuristic wife and mother. People in 2062, when the show was set, depended on technology for flash-cooking their meals, exercising without going to the gym, and communicating with far-off family and friends, even for medical appointments. Sound familiar?
I’m not the only one to notice the Jetsons-like quality of life with covid-19. I ran across a meme about it last week as I nearly had this blog entry formulated. I almost didn’t write about it because I stubbornly cling to the idea of being original. But it’s 2020, and the Internet is prone to plagiarism and the passing along of jokes and profundities.
I’m a dinosaur who has a vinyl record collection and a library full of paper bound books, but since the start of the pandemic, I’ve become more dependent on technology than ever before. I microwave something every single day and just bought a recumbent stepper for home. And I use Zoom or Skype at least once a week for classes, videochats, and medical appointments.
I have remote controls for all kinds of gadgets. It’s easy to get them mixed up. Sometimes you’ll hear me muttering, “What’s the problem? Why won’t it pause?” Then I look down and realize I’m holding the blu-ray player remote instead of the live DVR remote or realize I’m in the YouTube app instead of Netflix.
That last sentence was gibberish a few years ago. I’m a late adopter of technology, so I actually am still way behind most folks. I don’t have an Alexa – except for the mini version on my HD Amazon Fire – or a smart TV. I haven’t figured out how to pair all of my bluetooth devices. My vehicle doesn’t even have bluetooth or lane sensors. More gibberish.
So sheltering in place has made me dependent on streaming. A power outage, heck, an internet outage, is a disaster. I have analog books, but two of the books I’m reading right now are available only on my electronic devices.
The biggest inconvenience, however, is that my overuse of remotes has led to a severe case of buttonitis. Jane Jetson was diagnosed with buttonitis in the second season of The Jetsons. She pressed so many buttons that her fingers were a tangle of nerves, and she was tired, so very tired. Her connection with the world was dependent on technology, and it took a physical and possibly psychological toll on her.
Since the pandemic, I’m not very motivated. That’s a symptom of Parkinson’s. Really. Apathy is listed as a symptom. I tend to think from what my friends say that it’s also a symptom of the sheltering in place that everybody is dealing with. Another possible symptom of PD is neuropathy, or nerve pain, which can mimic carpel tunnel syndrome or other nerve-related ailments. The jury is still out on the link between that specific kind of pain and PD. My Parkinson’s specialist said, “Anybody can slip a disc.”
What I know is that texting is not easy now. Scrolling through social media can be painfully repetitive. Luckily, I have voice to text technology. I can speak to my device and have it type an approximation of what I’m saying. Sometimes the results are hilarious. Try it on your phone or tablet and see what you get.
I’ve discovered that I can type at the computer keyboard for short bursts, which I’m doing now, without having to speak. I’m about ready to stop. I’m going to sit in my recliner and put my feet up…with my recliner remote.