On retirement four years ago, I was determined to get to grips with my terror of technology. When my former colleagues asked what I’d like as a retirement gift I suggested a second-hand laptop. The day after I took possession of my computer I went in search of a computer manual. The kindly young man who assisted me in my search suggested an attractively designed book entitled ‘Computers for Idiots.’
Day after day, I struggled with ‘Computers for Idiots,’ each day becoming more and more confused and depressed. Deciding that I must be a very special type of idiot, I threw ‘Computers for Idiots’ into the bin and had to resist the temptation to throw my laptop in after it.
The following week, I attended an annual gathering of former schoolmates. As, at the end of the evening, we swapped personal data, amongst the 13 of us I stood out as being the only one without an email address. Shamefaced, I admitted my fear of technology and my total lack of success in learning basic computer skills. However, I stopped short of admitting binning ‘Computers for Idiots.’
My confession was met with sympathy by some, amazement by others. ‘Nothing to it,’ one said. ‘It’s a whole new world; you really should take lessons,’ another advised. Sticking a smile on my face, I thanked her, painstakingly took all of their email addresses and slunk out the door. That night, I had a nightmare that I was in a classroom with my friends. All of them were busy at their computers whilst I sat in front of a page of blank white paper.
The next day, I confessed my utter fear of computers and my feeling of being left behind to a friend. ‘I was there once,’ she informed me. Her nieces had tried to help, but she said ‘it was like having a relative teaching you how to drive.’
Then she told me that she had been brought by a friend to Age Action down at the Small Crane. Not alone had she learned basic computer skills, she’d even had a few advanced classes. She’d made new friends and was currently attending a great Spanish class at Age Action.
The following day, I took my courage in both hands, phoned Age Action and explained my predicament. ‘No problem’ I was told by an extremely encouraging voice, ‘Come along next Monday.’
The following Monday I rescued my unused laptop from the back of a cupboard and – despite the encouraging voice I’d heard on the phone – feeling extremely nervous, headed for Age Action. From the moment I stepped instead the door, I lost a great deal of my fear. My fellow learners were, of course, like myself, Senior Citizens. I was welcomed by friendly faces and introduced to my teacher.
I told him of my inability to understand computer speak. ‘No problem’ he said, ‘Everyone feels like that at first.’ From opening the computer to explaining what an email was, with infinite patience, he introduced me to the wonders of the computer world. My fear disappeared and each week I actually looked forward to and enjoyed my computer classes.
Now, when I open my computer to check my emails, book a flight or surf the web, I silently thank Age Action and my computer teacher for bringing this wonderful world into my living room.
I would advise anyone with the fears I once had to head straight for Age Action. I can promise that, not only will you learn computer skills, but that you will enjoy a whole new social experience.
For details on Age Action’s specially designed computer training classes, contact Age Action West, Small Crane, Galway City at 091-527831.