The Postscript

Poking and clicking

Carrie Classon

“You gotta keep poking and clicking,” a friend tells me. “That’s what my daughter does.”

By this, she means that learning new technology is not a straight path. I have to play with it. I have to find the process of learning fun and challenging and not get hung up when I make mistakes along the way.

I know I’m not the only one who finds the “poke and click” mindset a challenge when I just want to get the darned thing done and move on to something I enjoy. Like reading a book. With real pages.

My current frustration is with my phone. I use my phone for taking photos and, occasionally, for making actual phone calls. I don’t do well with texting. If you send me an email (and I hope you do!), I’ll likely respond within minutes because I am sitting at my computer all day pretending to write. Getting an email gives me an excuse to leave whatever I am working on and send off a cheery note.

My phone, on the other hand, sits on the corner of my desk, ignored. It must make a noise or something when people text me, but I never notice. It isn’t until I pick it up to make an actual phone call (which could be a very long time) that I see I have a message.

“Uh-oh. I hope it’s not Mom.”

It won’t be my mom. She learned her lesson ages ago and no longer sends me text messages because I never see them. She sends me an email, which – she will tell you – I respond to immediately.

I have never bonded with my phone. I don’t use it much because I’m already on my computer. I have this gigantic monitor, and switching over to the itty-bitty screen doesn’t make sense to me. I might have to put on my reading glasses. I don’t see the point.

The result is that I don’t know how to use my phone very well. But my phone isn’t helping me any. It doesn’t even take pictures easily. The response time is so slow that the person I am trying to photograph has allowed the smile to fade from their face. The dog I am photographing has been distracted and is looking in the other direction. The sun has gone under a cloud – or possibly set – before my phone gets around to snapping a photo.

“You need a new phone,” my husband, Peter, said after taking six photos in a row that looked as if the subject was under-water.

And so, after a lot of consideration, I decided to buy a new phone. I tried to buy one from a phone store, but they didn’t answer their phone. I realized what a dumb bunny I was. You’re not supposed to call a phone store. Duh.

So I did what they wanted me to do and ordered it online. Now it is coming in the mail, and I am filled with a faint dread because I am sure I will have to do something complicated to get it up and working – something involving a lot of poking and clicking – before I am allowed to simply take less fuzzy photos and ignore my text messages in peace.

It’s good for me, I suppose. Poking and clicking will fend off Alzheimer’s perhaps and make me believe I am not too old to learn new tricks.

But the truth is, I’m not really looking for new tricks. Today, I’d be perfectly happy with some old tricks that worked.

Till next time,


Carrie Classon

is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and performer. She champions the idea that it is never too late to reinvent oneself in unexpected and fulfilling ways. Learn more about Carrie and her memoir, “Blue Yarn,” at