The Accidental Technophile

iPhones and streaming and Ebay, oh my.  And what I don’t miss from the past century.

By Annie Korzen


I admit that technology has showered us with all kinds of conveniences, but sometimes I miss the days when you could easily hear the other person on the phone. That’s just one reason I still prefer my landline. Some others: I cannot misplace, lose, drop or break it. It is unlikely to be stolen. I don’t need to insure it. And, best of all, it doesn’t follow me around when I take a walk in the park.

I do own a smartphone, mind you—how else can I discover which aisle of Trader Joe’s my husband has disappeared to? And I enjoy playing Words with Friends while waiting for the bus. But an honest-to-goodness phone conversation? That can wait until the comfort and privacy of home, thank you.

I do occasionally check my emails if I’m out for a lengthy period. I did that while getting my roots done, and the hairdresser said, “Oh, wow, I didn’t know people your age used smart phones.” I lied and said, “Of course we do. I use mine constantly!” just to put this ageist twit in her in place.

I do both DVDs and streaming, though that little red Netflix envelope has become a latter-day scarlet letter—so not cool with the Youngs. They watch movies on their laptops, or even on their phones. Horrors! My idea of a good time is to lounge on the sofa before a 55-inch screen, munching on some cherry pie, and watching Enchanted April for the umpteenth time.

I enjoy putting photos online, but I also cherish my collection of hard-copy photo albums: actual books with actual pages that I turn with my actual grandson (who snuggles beside me, riveted by goofy baby pictures of himself).

Lest you dismiss me as a total Luddite, there are many things from the past century that I don’t miss at all: TV antennas. Mimeograph machines. Carbon paper. Typewriter correction tape. Paper road maps (ever tried refolding one?). And, most of all, cutting and pasting: Literally. Cutting a document with scissors and pasting it somewhere else with Scotch tape. Plus I’m very grateful for the modern miracles of Skype, Siri, and Arthroscopic surgery.

My happiest hi-tech moment came last month. I bought an antique mah-jongg set in a thrift shop for ten bucks, then figured out how to post it on eBay. It sold for $900. Wow! This digital stuff is pretty amazing. Now all I need is about a hundred hours of tutoring from any random 12-year-old.

Annie Korzen is a Moth Mainstage storyteller and the author of Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap. She has written humorous essays for NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She now posts on TikTok as The Cranky New Yorker.

You may enjoy other NYCitywoman stories by Annie Korzen:

Why I Miss New York City

The Ups and Downs of Turning Seventy

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