Changes are they real?
I recently had to go to the Veteran’s Administration hospital to see my new doctor.
Right off the bat I noticed where the check-in kiosks used to be I was once again looking at blank walls. In their place are these temporary signs to teach you how to become a modern day “phono.” Everyone including my wife lives with their ear, hand or both thumbs glued to their cell phone. Now everyone is supposed to own a smart phone. The signs are telling you how to check in with your smart phone.
My problem is what if your phone is smarter than you are? When we got our last phones my wife got the same phone that I bought. That way she could help me understand mine. Now that they have these big barcodes that you take a picture of with your camera she just gives me that disgusted look and says I don’t do that. I’m sure she can and may when she’s away from me, the thought of trying to explain it to me she knows would boggle my brain completely.
When I saw these little direction cards I just started looking at the guys in front of me who were doing just like me shaking their heads. So we had a little line going to the cutest little blonde who seemed to not mind helping us. She just took my name, who I wanted to see and with a nice smile said they will come get you Mr. Austin.
While I was setting there waiting to be called I began to think back in time. I was right back where I used to be eight to 10 years ago. I would go in, check with one of the ladies and they would tell me where to go. In the past 74 years of my life I’ve been told where to go a lot. Then one day I walked in and they had all these kiosks mounted to the walls. They had to hire extra help to train us on how to use them, put our cards in, put in all our birth dates, where we live now and while that was happening one of the trainers would come and ask if we had seen a card from some guy who had lost his. For two to three months cards were being lost, and they kept changing the system. Veterans were griping about what was wrong with the old way and they gave us the business about how much faster this was and how well we would like it.
As it is with all veterans, we always have each other’s back. When we would see somebody new looking like a lost calf we would step over and help them. Finally it seemed we had the bugs worked out of this and it was flowing along smoothly and sure enough one day I walked in and the kiosks were gone.
Veterans are survivors, we went, we served and we came back alive. Every time I go down to the VA all I hear is how much better they’re making it for us. Now they expect you to have a smart phone and know how to take a picture of this code. While I sat there I heard people talking who said I don’t have a phone and if I do I don’t bring it inside.
My dad always taught us boys to be early to wherever we went. Sunday morning my wife and I are early to church. People have come to expect it and laugh and give me a bad time if I’m only 55 minutes early. They have all these programs and apps posted that you can check by doing the same process of taking a picture of this barcode. My wife simply won’t do it and every time I do it I come up with a big nothing. Yes you have it I’m not going to ask one of these super smart young people who would explain it to me and it still wouldn’t work. If Jesus wanted me in on that app he would touch me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear. He and I talk all the time and so far he has never told me it was that important for me to know those things about my phone.
I can call with it, text and take pictures and for the most part vice versa. About once every couple of weeks I go through my contacts and find 10 to 15 I don’t recognize so I delete them. So far none of those numbers have called back and asked why don’t you talk to me anymore? I have come up with the old man system of putting their name in and tried to be name specific. Like the number then this is your brother Pete who never calls you but you should try to call him once a month anyway. This is your old truck boss Jerry Schendel he never calls you but he’ll get awfully mad if you don’t call him. Should I just put down a name and a number I will have forgotten it by the next morning. Yes you guessed it, I delete the number until I get a call back.
We are closing down to my abilities on my smart phone. I don’t really feel all that bad about it because given time to talk to other veterans and church members if I need any heavy work done I leave it to my wife. Since she doesn’t like the barcodes you have to take pictures of I guess I will be making the trip to see the good-looking blonde with a nice smile.
My favorite thing to do with my extra time at church and at the VA where I also arrive early is I look at people’s feet. It comes from years of breaking and training horses. When you train horses you spend a lot of time checking their feet, if you do not you may be afoot yourself. It also makes a good rapport with the people surrounding me. When I comment on people’s shoes it usually brightens up their day.
I’ve come to notice how shoes have changed and people are wearing the same shoes they use to 20 years ago. Women are wearing clogs polished to a high black and the docs are wearing low-cut tennis shoes like we boys wore when I was in school. That was until the jock phase come along and we all started wearing high-top tennis shoes.
Women still have an affinity for heals and pumps and I love to look at them. I get a lot of praise for it and can get into some pretty good conversations with them.
As one old cowboy to another, keep your heels down and your eyes along the skyline.
This is Buckeye Butch, Fruita Colo., signing off until next time.
If you see an old cowboy holding a cell phone and grumbling don’t laugh just cruise on by. There was a day when you would’ve been glad to know him.