Antiquated? by Sharon O’Donnell

I have to say that I’m feeling a bit like antiquated these days. First, it was blasted technology again. It took me half a day of trial and error to figure out how to get Itunes and my playlists back when I upgraded my new computer. Wasted time. And so frustrated, particularly when my close-up eyesight is getting worse, so I kept having to take my reading glasses on and off to follow the instructions. Still haven’t figured out how to get my old email settings back where they used to be.

But what really made me feel old were two other things that happened recently. I took my youngest son, Jason, age 12, to see the anniversary screening of To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all-time favorite books, mainly because of the insights expressed by Scout, the young female protagonist in the story. I wanted to share these with Jason, especially since I knew that his older brothers had liked the novel when they read it in middle school, and that he would probably be assigned to read it in the next year or so. The theater was pretty full, but not packed; I really think it would have been more crowded if the movie event had been promoted by the theater. I found out about it because I listed the movie as one of my ‘likes’ on Facebook and there was a posting about it that appeared on my page. It was strange but refreshing to see the black and white movie on the big screen, relying on characterizations to appeal to the audience instead of special effects and car chase scenes. The movie moved slowly with silence sometimes on the screen — again different but refreshing.

At the end of the movie, Jason said he didn’t like the ending because it was obvious Tom Robinson didn’t commit the crime but he ended up getting killed. I told him that the sense of unfairness that he felt was how the movie screen writers (and author Harper Lee) had intended to make readers and viewers feel. Then as we were going out into the theater lobby, I wanted to talk with him about the character of Scout and how she reminded me of Junie B. Jones, a character in a children’s book series that he read when he was younger. But right as I brought this up, we stepped into the lobby where hundreds of teenage girls were in line to get refreshments. They were all giddy and excited. It was the opening night of the latest Twilight movie, and suddenly we felt a long way from Scout and the other characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. I really wished that some of the girls in the lobby had come to see TKAM instead of Twilight so that they could see the kind of impact a movie like that can have. I even saw some women come in who were around my age, just as giddy as the young girls. I felt like a duck out of water.

Then on Thanksgiving night, I decided to run over to the nearby Target that opened at 9 to buy a movie I’d been meaning to get to watch with my oldest son, who was spending a rare night at our house instead of his college apartment. The movie is called The Debt, a very suspenseful and surprising movie about capturing a Nazi years later and the effects it had on his captors. I saw it last year and knew my son would love it. It had been on our On Demand channel, but alas, when we finally had time to watch it together, it wasn’t there any longer. So I set off for Target to run in and buy a copy. When I got there, about ten minutes after they opened, there was long line to get in the store. Now, I know that Black Friday shopping is all the rage, but this was at 9:00 at Target, for goodness sake not at an Apple Store or Best Buy. The line was moving so I went ahead and got in it and moved inside with the steady stream of people. It was a madhouse inside. People had obviously come in to use first come, first serve coupons for big ticket items, while I was there to buy a year-old movie.

I did find the movie and went to the check-out line, which I discovered now stretched from the cash registers all the way to the other side of the store and then back toward the rear of the store. I started to put the movie back and not even attempt it, but that line mas moving fast. I was impressed by the organization of the Target store management. So I got in line and stood in it as it snaked by the aisles. When we got to the laundry items aisle, I almost picked up some Downey fabric softener to buy, but it just seemed wrong. Nobody else was here buying such mundane items. So I passed on by the laundry aisle.

When I got to the front to buy the movie, I discovered that a video game my two youngest sons wanted was on display right by the cash register and had been reduced by $20 — so I bought that. My trip was not wasted at all — and my oldest son and I did watch the movie together finally.

Still, the whole shopping thing and Twilight thing made me feel as if I’m behind the times. And honestly, that’s okay with me.