Late last year, I decided I was ready to leap into the world of iPads. I’d been hearing about them and seeing folks proudly sharing their features at social gatherings, showing photos and snapping new ones, browsing the Internet, reading books and emailing.
My husband encouraged me and believed I’d benefit from having one, especially for downloading books.
The iPad Mini sounded perfect. Measuring about 5-by-8 inches, it would fit in my purse and be easier for me to hold with my small hands.
I reasoned that, since it was a “mini,” it might be less complicated to operate.
I admit I have a deep and abiding fear of — and, therefore, a lot of ambivalence toward — new technology. I’m a bit like Mr. Carson, the grumpy butler from the BBC’s turn-of-the-century series “Downton Abbey,” who viewed with suspicion a telephone (newfangled just after World War I) and reluctantly practiced how he would answer.
Braving my anxieties, we ventured out to the Apple Store. While we waited to meet with a salesperson, I looked at the table that displayed Minis, and I noticed several prepubescent children swiping at the screens and obviously getting satisfactory results.
Well, if they could do it, so could I.
The saleswoman was in her 20s and quite friendly. I explained my techno fears, and she immediately confided that her mother also suffered from similar anxieties but had become a happy iPad owner.
As the sales gal demonstrated the iPad’s features, I was reminded of certain female classmates I’d had in the few science or math classes I’d taken, students who understood abstract concepts readily, and whose talents I envied.
My husband is no technophobe. He would have been the guy in the math/science class who was asked to tutor the rest of us. He’s tried to explain technological devices to me during our years of marriage, with mixed results.
That day at the Apple Store, I just needed to hear it from the saleswoman, who briefly became my surrogate daughter.
She explained what I needed to decide before I placed an order, like color and how many gigabytes I wanted for memory storage. Did I want to make it usable for Internet with Wi-Fi zones only, or buy into the feature that could make it cellular, if I wanted to use that feature later?
They didn’t have any iPad Minis in the store, so I panicked momentarily as I realized we would have to order online at home. Then it would just be my hubby and me, with me at a decided disadvantage. To reassure me, she wrote down the salient details that we needed to focus on.
Without incident, we ordered the iPad (with my nickname inscribed) and a pale blue cover that doubles as a little stand. The cover came first, and I opened it immediately.
When the iPad arrived, I signed the FedEx form and placed the box on the kitchen counter.
Much later, my husband asked me why I hadn’t opened it yet. Before I could answer, he asked in a gentle tone, “You’re scared, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I murmured.
We opened it together, so it wasn’t as threatening. We experimented with its applications and did some emailing and text messaging. I even downloaded a book.
Still, there are days where it sits blue and forlorn on the counter as I pass it by.
Do I have buyer’s remorse? Nah! You see, even if I don’t master my iPad (and I swear I will), my husband should get plenty of use out of it.
Perhaps that was his plan all along.A Time to Talk columnist Mary Magee can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.