Monday, August 23, 2004

# Posted 10:13 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

HEY GRANDMA, DID YOU READ MY BLOG? Yesterday, I drove up to Haverstraw, NY to visit my grandmother. She is headed for her 90th birthday next spring and is, by her own admission, "getting younger every day." However, her memory isn't the best and she has a very hard time understanding anything new.

At one point, my grandmother (or 'Savta' in Hebrew), asked what kind of job I would get after graduation. I told her that I would work for the government. To my surprise, she was deeply impressed.

"Oooooh. The guuuuverment," she said. Most people I talk to consider my choice of profession somewhat dubious. These days, even liberals don't like the government. But I think my grandmother comes from that old European tradition that thinks of being in the civil service as being part of a secular priesthood. And far be it from me to disabuse her of that notion.

While on this line of conversation, my father (who had ridden shotgun) tried to explain that I would be covering the Republican convention. He then got really ambitious and tried to explain that I edited a website that had been given a press credential.

Unfortunately, my father had to give up after a brief effort to explain what the internet was. 'Computer' is a concept my Savta can deal with, but I'm pretty sure she has no idea what computers do. Instead, my father said I was sort of a journalist.

Now why does any of this matter? Because just after this failed discussion of blogging, my Savta eagerly grabbed my cellphone when I told her that my younger brother was on the line. Standing all of 4'8" and sitting in a chair at least three sizes too large, she began to chatter away like a New York cab driver.

You might say that cellphones aren't that hard to understand because they're so much like regular phones. In contrast, there's nothing like the internet. And it'strue. But compulsive cellphone talkers are an icon of the information age.

So for one brief moment, a little old woman from Vilna who still has a thick Yiddish accent despite being in this country for almost 60 years gave off the impression of being part and parcel of our brave new world. I couldn't help but smile.
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