To the Lady in Sears

Sixty if she’s a day, she hesitates before every push

Every keystroke on a system so old it would make a public library blush.

“I’m not good with computers,” She says, and I wait. No rush.

Then I stop. What she means starts to sink in.

Cameras are computers now. Photo albums don’t live on her shelf, they live in the cloud.

Phones are computers now. Must make it hard for friends to call.

Even a quarter for the payphone is fifty cents.

If you can find one.

Maps are computers now, everyone’s pocket holds an atlas.

You can find ten routes to where you’re going if you ask it.

She’s tapping away. “Do you have the gift registry number?”

I rattle it off from my phone, the computer that doubles as my memory.

It’s how I know my friends didn’t want one peacock-shaped bowl, but the set of three.

 

I love computers. They don’t just make my life better, they make it livable.

They’re like pets I can write on. Everyone gets mad when you write songs on your cat.

But here’s this lady, tap tap tap, determined. Good with computers or not,

they are going to get

that peacock-shaped bowl set.

She is going to get

This job done yet.

And I can’t help thinking “How brave are you?

Here’s this thing that scares you and you just chisel at it one key at a time.

Here’s this thing that everyone else just gets. That your grandkids can’t imagine life without,

And you’re doing it anyway.”

This bomb-ass old lady is backspacing now, her flickering cursor moonwalking on an old monitor.

 

She’s a goddamn digital hero.

I’m an asshole with a three peacock bowls.

She’s already on to the next challenge.


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