Do you know what this is?
Good; then I don’t feel so bad. Because I encountered it in a place that ironically enough, used to thrive on the simplicity of the written word, printed on pages wafting with the aroma of aging ink.
ANSWER: It’s a book checkout station, at a library.
And I resent it, because it made me feel old.
I have nothing against progress and technology, believe me. I love my iPhone. No, I mean I LOOOOVE my iPhone. I love that I can carry around a pocketful of friends that I can talk with on a moment’s notice, if I feel like it. I savor being able to Google anything bit of information that I deem crucial, whether it’s what Bruce Jenner’s doing today, or “how to remove a toothbrush from a toilet.”
I’m down with the future. I grew up with Back To The Future; hey, they were right about future tech methods like Skype, and I’m STILL waiting for my damn hoverboard.
Though in reality, at this phase of my life, the Black & Decker meal hydrator would be WAY more practical for me than the hoverboard. With all the cooking I do now, I’d never have any time on my hoverboard even if I HAD one; and you know the kids would immediately break it anyway.
(For those of you too young to have seen Back To The Future II, well, then you’ll never know what a versatile actor Michael J. Fox is as he portrays himself. His dad. His son. His daughter…)
On to the library:
I ended up needing a book that wasn’t at our town library, so I stopped by the library in the next town over to pick up what I needed. I headed toward the checkout desk, only to realize that there really wasn’t one.
When in doubt, fake it… so I stepped up; I swiped my library card through the reader, and….
a nice librarian stepped up to point out that that is actually the credit card swiper, to pay overdue fines.
So here’s the gist. You flash your card under the screen, then place your books on the plate below the screen.
… and it doesn’t even matter where the books’ barcodes are located.
…and then the machine spits out your receipt, complete with name, book titles, due date.
And that’s how I know I’m old, folks. Finally, I was not only stymied by a new piece of technology, but eyed it suspiciously for at least three minutes as I watched other patrons check out their books.
It was bound to happen though, right? Technology is constantly evolving at such a fast rate; it was only a matter of time before it began to eclipse me and dash on by. I already need The Captain’s help with the latest iTunes download.
But it’s ok. I have created a legion of minions to help me with my technological concerns as I age. And in the grand circle of life, in the (near?) future, my kids can complain about my technological ignorance.Six Pack Mom