On a Learning Curve

Sometimes I think I’m pretty crazy not to have heeded the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” By the looks of my new driver’s license, I qualify as an old dog and should be able to step back from some, at least, of these learning curves. But I refuse to be left behind. It feels sometimes as if I’m whizzing up to a learning curve several times a day–on squalling tires overlooking a formidable abyss!

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about. See if you’ve had to master any of these.

We moved into a new house. I was so excited about the stove and two ovens. We were so busy at first I hardly had time to cook, but gradually I began trying out things on this marvelous stove top. There is an expandable eye. I thought “hmmmm, what does this mean?” I tried it out one day and became very frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to use only the middle part. And there seemed to be no simmer available no matter what I tried. I tried the small back burner. It wouldn’t simmer, either, just wanted to burn at top heat. What in the world?!!!! So I tried the left front burner which calls itself a bridge burner. Well, it wouldn’t let me use only the front burner. Fine, if I wanted the bridge but what if I didn’t? Back left did pretty well but, my goodness, it wouldn’t simmer either! By now, I was using all my elbow grease cleaning up my burned pots! Finally, I questioned the right person who actually has a stove top that is similar. Jane said so sweetly, “I think your knobs have all been switched.” Bless her, she was right! Now I can expand if I want to, but I don’t have to and, wonderfully, I can now simmer in my poor stained pots!

We changed e-mail servers. Suddenly, I lost all my contacts, had to start building back my log. (If you haven’t heard from me in a long time and wonder why I dropped off the face of the earth, it’s because I no longer have your e-mail address!) But something else happened. Unknown to me, some of my favorite e-mailers, such as my church, had been put on a spam list by my new server so I couldn’t receive their mail. The church secretary and I called CNS numerous times trying to figure out why I couldn’t receive mail from my church but with no success. Finally, this week CNS told me what I needed to do. I don’t understand how they just figured it out but I’m so glad they did. The test mail did come through yesterday and I can’t wait to get my church newsletter this week! Oh, and the irony is that we changed servers because Windstream seemed so slow and impersonal that we decided to use the local company. Beware! If you have some “beef” with any one company, be careful about moving somewhere else. Your problems may increase!

 One morning last week Charles announced as he came in from the carport, that something was drastically wrong with my car because I had a huge puddle of water under it, water that looked and smelled like anti-freeze. I took it to our faithful Chrysler dealer where they promptly diagnosed my problem. A cracked radiator. It would be the next day before they’d have the part. Would I like a car to use in the meantime? Answering in the affirmative, I was soon given a key and told that my ride was right outside beside my own car. I started to ask for a description of this ride but the key person had already turned away. As I walked down the parking lot to my car, I was startled to see a bright red jeep sitting beside it, the only vehicle beside my car. My heart thumped in sudden anxiety. How could they give me a jeep to drive? Did I look like a jeep-driving woman? Obediently, though, I climbed up in that jeep which wasn’t an easy task. As I was about to insert key in ignition, I realized there was already a key there. Now my heart really went crazy. Here I was in someone’s jeep! I piled out of there so fast, I got my pocketbook hung up in the door somehow and felt temporarily trapped in the act of auto theft. Finally, I got loose and went back to the service department to admit my shame. Bill laughed and found the car I was actually to have, a town and country mini-van just like mine, except red instead of sea blue. What a relief it was to get in that car and not have the learning curve of driving that sporty little jeep!
Charles and I are like the blind leading the blind when it comes to figuring out how to play a movie on our own television or add a new app to either of our phones. Charles D, our grandson, helps us out but not without some pretty humiliating implications, like, “Not again! You know I already showed you how to do that. I’ll show you one more time!” Only on rare occasions do I remind him of the hours he and I spent struggling when he was learning his multiplication table.
I know all these learning curves are good for us, build up the muscle in our brain, but I really would like to run the other way sometimes when I see one coming. If I could! Is it not time I could just sit in my easy chair and read a book? I know how to read a book! Or maybe knit a prayer shawl. I know how to knit–if you don’t give me too complicated a pattern and ask me to do it at the same time a grandchild is showing me new gymnastic moves. Right now I’m hoping nothing goes wrong with my phone requiring an update and that nothing goes haywire with the security alarm or the vacuum cleaner and I’m putting off learning how to use this tiny new recorder someone gave me!

1 Comment

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One response to “On a Learning Curve

  1. Juanita

    Enjoyed this blog and can really relate. Eric is so patient with his granny (me) about showing me things over and over.

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