| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Posted on 14 May 2015 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

l’ll bet you have seen one or more of the hundreds of movies that address issues concerning mental illness. To name just a few: Psycho, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ordinary People, Rainman, Gilbert Grape, American Beauty, Black Swan, The Soloist, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Silver Lining Playbook.

Each addresses a different diagnostic malfunction of the many that attack our population, just as physical diseases are the scurge of mankind.

I’ll bet you never heard of NAMI – (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the month of May, NAMI, in conjunction with other mental health advocates, is bringing awareness to mental illness.

Each year, their supporters fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.

Who doesn’t know someone with any of the following conditions: bi-polar, clinical depression, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, mental retardation, dementia, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), Agoraphobia, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, and too many more to list.

These are not conditions that are treatable with a simple toss of a “Get over it” approach that belies any understanding of the pain and suffering experienced by victims and families. And, yet, the added burden of social stigma has not been eradicated, despite every effort to educate the public to the practical need for parity in funding, research and treatment for both mental and physical anomalies, as well as the compassionate need for the same kind of empathy for mental patients as we give to cancer patients.

Here are some facts: 1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. 1 in 20 lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.

When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4. We begin with prevention. We don’t ignore them. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?

Perhaps because people may not realize that their symptoms are being caused by a mental health condition or they feel ashamed to pursue help because of the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s up to all of us to know the signs and to take action so that mental illnesses can be caught early and treated. People can and do recover and reclaim their lives.

One way to see if you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition is to take a screening. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a quick, confidential screening for a variety of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

There are many treatment options, ranging from talk therapy to medication to peer support, and, although it may take time for a person to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that work best for them, the results can be life-changing.

For more information about what you should know and what you can do at each stage, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may. And get information from local low cost facilities, like www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: How did we live without this stuff?

Posted on 02 April 2015 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Remember that nursery rhyme with the really dumb lyrics?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row

Well I propose a 21st Century change to :

People, People, quite acquisitive

How do your entitlements grow?

Give you a finger – you want a hand

You expect to reap more than you sow

Mea culpa

It was Saturday morning and I handed the bank teller my deposit slip attached to my few measly checks.

As I did so, I noticed a flyer on the cage announcing a change in banking hours, alerting customers to the fact that the bank would no longer have Saturday hours.

Understand, dear readers, that I have clear memories of the days when banks closed at 3 p.m. – never to open at 3:01—and surely never on any part of a weekend. Nor did they open on a day when any human might dain to proclaim it a holiday.

But in true 21st Century “soft”-entitlement mode, “Hmmmph” went through my mind. “That’s not good.” I said to me, “I might just change banks. That’s easy enough to do.” And then, as she handed me my receipt, I tried to remember the last time I banked on a Saturday. “Not the point,” I rejoindered to my loquacious self, “It’s the principle. Other banks are open on Saturdays and I want it to be MY choice to come here or not — on a Saturday.” Such was my mindset, before I had a serious conversation with me, as in: “Really? You lived a pretty contented life when you had no choice regarding banking days. Available to you now, it has become a ‘soft’ entitlelement … ‘soft,’ as opposed to lifestyle enhancements such as Medicare and Disability entitlements … those for another column. I lingered with that thought until…

I received a call of desperation from a friend — “Emily! I need your help to print out my boarding pass for tomorrow’s flight.” Okay, okay — happy to help a friend, but the desperation in her voice made it sound dire. What if … think of it — what if, indeed, she were to arrive at the airport without her boarding pass – requiring another 5 minutes to acquire it at the terminal kiosk? How “dire” can that be? Another “soft entitlement!”

And then there’s the current most significant entitlement: the ability to learn the name of the guy who played opposite Joan Crawford in that picture — When was it? In the 1940s? What was its name? Nevermind, I’ll call Siri. I’m entitled to get that information – RIGHT NOW. But Siri doesn’t understand the question – ever! Well – hardly ever. Bummer.

All this while the world is galloping towards Armageddon.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The collective unconscious

Posted on 05 March 2015 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Don’t you just want to throw a shoe at the cable news programs on TV these days? Regardless of your political preferences, the bulk of what we get is killing, savagery, partisan ravings, nit picking at insignificant nonsense, and how long can we prolong a “gaff” story. I know, I know, there’s still no law preventing us from clicking the power-off button, and I find myself doing that more and more often. But it’s the killing and savagery part that continues to haunt me – on screen, in print or dining discussions. And I’m thinking that so much of the casual killing that is in current trend began with the Big Bang of 1945, which is surely not to say that killing hasn’t existed since the dawn of time.

I just finished reading the intriguing, “The Wives of Los Alamos,” by Tarashea Nesbit. The title tells all and the ending was no surprise. The original small group of scientists and their wives, and families, were holed up for two years basically incognito, as the atom bomb was a-birthing. And then it was dropped — not once, but twice — causing incalculable horror, and producing a seismic change in the way foreign policy is conducted. Oh yes, it ended World War II and saved many lives, we were told. But hordes of people were haunted by the apocalyptic event and questioned the morality of this monstrous creation.

A Marine Corps officer wrote in Sunday’s New York Times about giving an order to kill a young boy who was seen at a distance in a battlefield to be digging into the ground, while holding an unknown object in his hand. Was he planting a grenade? Could he give the kid the benefit of a doubt? Did he have time to weigh the pros and cons? No. He gave the order to kill. But he was haunted by his action and questioned the morality of his deed.

And of course, The American Sniper had bouts of haunting misgivings despite the demands of survival, as he expertly plied his “trade.”

As I see it, the good people on this earth are living through a collective unconscious state regarding “killing.” Collective unconscious is a term of analytical psychology, coined by Carl Jung. It is proposed to be a part of the unconscious mind, expressed in humanity … and describes how the structure of the psyche autonomously organizes experience. Jung distinguished the collective unconscious from the personal unconscious, in that the personal unconscious is a personal reservoir of experience unique to each individual, while the collective unconscious collects and organizes those personal experiences in a similar way with each member of a particular species.

Slowly, and with each killing that we rationalize as being in self defense, the reluctance to take another life eases, becomes more acceptable, less immoral. We defer to Darwin, in the name of survival.

Is this as disturbing you as it is to me? We are fighting a true enemy of the mind and for a set of what we consider to be moral values — but when do WE feel forced, in essence, to become THEM?

I’m going back to Turner Classic Movies — the musicals!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: It’s love time again

Posted on 05 February 2015 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Yep! It happens every year. Hallmark reigns! Candy, flowers, jewelry, Victoria’s Secret(s) – and for those who can actually stick it out for many a decade, like I did, a beautiful brand new shiny — juicer!

The men get cards, kisses and — if they’re lucky, they get to use their Viagra. And all of this is predicated on the existence of “love.”

OK. I’m talking about what is sometimes referred to as “romantic” love, not parental, or filial, love (that’s for another column) , not love for a pet or a football team, or a bauble, or ice cream.

These many years, I have been seeking a universal definition of that word. And in response to my many queries, no two have been identical. It seems there is no real consensus when it comes to a definition of the word. Some people experience love with longevity and manage to sustain “it” despite some of “its” most ruthless challenges. Others experience love as a temporary high, and do not look for sustainability, but satisfy themselves with one day at a time. And still others live out “its” fantasy and find themselves devastated by “its” mercurial nature. They accept the ups of “it” and “give up” at the first sign of “down.” And then there are those who slog along on the tail of disappointment and live in a constant state of hurt, anger and resentment. Woe be to them.

And so, in the interest of serious research, I went to the dictionary.com website for the “scholarly” ( not so ) definition of the word love. Here is the ho-hum result: “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” That’s it? No! It proceeds to give 27 repetitions of the same concept, neglecting, I note, to indicate anything about the waxing and waning complexities, and changing characteristics that exist within a very volatile timeline. In other words, it doesn’t tell you how the very nature of love mutates and grows and changes, or diminishes, with time. THAT is the discovery of “everyman” (generic for “humankind”).

In my further research into the commonalities of a sustainable “love,” I found this most illuminating book which I highly recommend to anyone about to embark on a new “love journey,” as well as to people who are already ensconced in one. It’s called, “Conscious Loving” by Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks, married family therapists.

From the Amazon review: … Through their own marriage and through 20 years’ experience counseling more than 1,000 couples, therapists Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks have developed precise strategies to help you create a vital partnership and enhance the energy, creativity and happiness of each individual. You will learn how to: Let go of power struggles and need for control; balance needs for closeness and separateness; increase intimacy; communicate in a positive way that stops arguments; make agreements you can keep; allow more pleasure into your life. Addressed to individuals as well as to couples, Conscious Loving will heal old hurts and deepen your capacity for enjoyment, security and enduring love …

Go to the library or order it on Amazon (their used books are cheaper). Let me know how it works for you.

Meanwhile, have a Happy Valentine’s Day and give it all your “lovingness.”

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: As we watch the demise of newspapers

Posted on 04 December 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Here’s how I know that “The Holidays” are imminent and that “the season” is upon us.

I am “this close” to having to hire a derrick to lift my newspapers up from my front door. Pregnant as they are with advertisements — the very same kind that bulk up my mailbox and almost cause my e-mail to crash, I can’t help but wonder how much longer we, who love to “hold” and “coddle” a newspaper, will be privy to that particular predilection.

And how much longer will we continue to fell trees to indulge the excessiveness of waste when there is a perfectly viable alternative.

For so long have I resisted reading newspapers online, but that resistance is merely a function of an age-long habit. Once I’m booted up, I realize how very much more civilized it is to read off the screen.

This is particularly true if you are, as I am, a lifelong reader of any standard-sized daily newspaper: New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal et al. And I keep wondering if everyone reading them goes through the same ugly contortions that I do.

If I read it at a table, the table must be one that is the same (or close) circumference as the length of the paper, in which case I find myself stretching my neck, to see the top or having to stand up to read it, plus having to engage the assistance of a magnifying glass. Or, I find myself folding pages to a more accessible size, a most frustrating and time-consuming task often ending in a hodge podge of newsprint in non-sequential order, and hands that look like I just emerged from a coal mine.

While sitting down in my “comfy” chair, I often try to indulge in a newspaper read, but the process sucks the “comfy” out of the chair. Again comes the folding and stretching and fluttering and stubborn pages that require two hands to unmangle the aberrant folds. And oh, the “continued on page …. X. Isn’t that a precursor to road rage?

And when I see those folks on trains do the “commuter half-fold gig” on their newspapers, I watch with awe as they maneuver their readings and almost always seem surprised when they actually DO alight on the proper continuation of material in which they are so passionately invested.

And by the way, where were editors when the class was taught “less is more?”

And why is it that a convenient newspaper format often referred to as tabloid gets so little respect that all major national newspaper are reluctant to copy that format? As you are holding this paper in your hands, it is not necessary to indulge in acrobatics in order to comfortably turn its pages.

And so, in summation: Standard-sized newspapers represent a throwback to the dark ages, especially in this day of digital competency and awareness of the environmental consequences of bulk waste. And since the powers that be in daily newspaper circles have not succumbed to the tabloid, it is easy to see how online reading will be de rigueur within only a few years.

Meanwhile, in order to maintain our free society we NEED newspapers to survive even as they are tottering on the brink of seismic changes. So read the ads, be sure to recycle them, buy only what you can afford, and become accustomed to “logging on,” cause times, they are a-changing.

And have yourself a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice – and whatever else you celebrate.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Be careful, be grateful

Posted on 06 November 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

When you get to a certain age – you have two daily mantras – subliminal words that run through your head like watermarks on stationery: 1) Be Careful  2) Be Grateful.

Regarding the “Be Careful” echo – it repeats in my head with every step I take, every rotation of the four wheels on my car, and every recall of the crazy kinds of accidents having befallen many of my friends and acquaintances.

Always one to have rashly taken risks – be it rock climbing, white water rafting in turbulent waters, traversing rope bridges across deep canyons in the Himalaya Mountains, biking in challenging terrain or any number of other youth oriented adventures, I have happily accepted the “BTDT”* (Been There Done That) motto that has me taking pleasure now in “looking at the pictures.” And since I aspire to becoming the oldest healthy walking-onmy- own-steam with full cognition person — I know that I have to do my part in helping towards that goal, while counting on a major contribution coming from that mysterious source often referred to as God. Thus, “being careful” for starters – is a no-brainer.

Being thankful is even easier. I marvel with gratitude at the elegant stroke of fate that placed my parents in the U.S.A. at the time of my conception. And everything flows from there. My car accident? I wasn’t hurt nor was anyone else. I salvaged my car. My completely turned-around life since becoming a widow last year? I view it as a new challenge, a way to keep good memories alive, to adjust to being alone, to learning how to celebrate mindfulness and to reach into my own cognitive resources to find ways to live a fulfilling life. And what’s a fulfilling life? My friend Barbara once summed it up for me : “Every day, I try to do something for someone else and something for me.”

I’m grateful that every ache and pain I have is liveable. I have learned to view them as friends to greet and dismiss every morning as I distract myself from awareness that they exist and proceed with other thoughts and deeds.

I am grateful that I am not poor – and just as grateful that I am not rich. It is kind of a challenge to figure out how to juggle my spending to keep me afloat and I’ve seen too many rich people pursuing lives that they, themselves, feel to be meaningless – simply because their excess of money allows them to follow a path of ease.

I am grateful to have found my “bliss” – a balance of productivity and wanton nothingness and the tools to minimize stress.

I am grateful for oranges and beaches, and mountains and eggplant – good drinking water and showers, and lowered gas prices and national parks, TV clickers in the “off” position, healthy loving family and respectful political disagreements – for friends and solitude, and PBS and libraries — for the Wright brothers and Richard Branson – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – the opportunity to vote and to nap in the middle of the day when I feel like it, to hate the movie that everyone raves about and OMG to be able to cook my own turkey for my family on Thanksgiving Day, and to be able to wish you all a way of seeing the glass half full. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Dead at 75? Outrageous!

Posted on 02 October 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Fifty-Seven year old Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, a vice-provost of the University of Pennsylvania, an author, one of the architects of Obamacare and the brother of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel. In the current issue of The Atlantic, he tries to make the case for “Why I Hope To Die at 75” — only 18 years hence.

Some young whippersnappers cannot conceive of how fast 18 years can fly by.

He makes the usual pitch regarding the burdensome cost to society of the care and treatment of the elderly, and then cites the lack of quality of life suffered by so many in their later years.

And so, in what seems to me to be thoroughly unconnected logic, he alighted on the random age of 75, after which he practically pinky-swears that he will not allow any kind of treatment or known cure to be administered upon his body.

HORSEWHISKERS, Zeke, I hope you got paid enough for that article to overcome the ingenuousness of your premise.

Yes, late-life lingering in conjunction with soaring costs for care, as well as the emotional toll it takes on family, is a very serious social and ethical problem, and needs to be aired openly as solutions are sought. And such a probe would have been well worth the space.

But citing a target age that suggests “you’ve had enough of life” almost sounds like it comes from the mind of a child to whom 25 seems ancient.

Oh, just wait, Zeke Emanuel, you just wait! And when you’re 75 – and perhaps diagnosed with some disease that has a high quality of life expectancy – we’ll see if you refuse treatment on the mere grounds of just being “75.”

By the time I reach 75,” he says, “I will have lived a complete life. …I will have loved and been loved … I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives, … I will have made whatever contributions, important or not, (that) I am going to make …” and more. The man thinks he is Nostradamus.

So here it is from this lucky “horse’s mouth,” Doc. You have NO IDEA what the next 18 years hold for you. And if you are lucky enough to be relatively healthy at 75, you are darn well going to welcome your 76th birthday – and beyond, even if you have some survivable ailments that slow you down. And unless you become totally dependent on others for your care, you are very likely to endure the natural aches and pains that come with aging, the changing pace of your life and the exciting challenges of making lemonade from lemons. You will still continue to “make contributions,” and to savor the “loving and the being loved,” and if you have to take a test or two , or be subjected to some kind of magic treatment that will restore some quality of life, you will likely sign the document.

No one wants to live in a state of dependency. But to curtail what can be the best years of life after 75, in order to prevent what might not happen, comes from the corners of naivety, despite even, the medical background and experience.

Problems of aging, late stage illnesses, and the whole process of death and dying need to be addressed. But deliberately looking to curtail life at 75 “because I will have lived a complete life” is just plain foolish.

I know whereof I speak!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: I’ll take a pass – on passwords

Posted on 04 September 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Am I the only person suffering from chronic password-itis?

When, where and who is the person who will come up with one single way to ID oneself in the cloud. Surely, the technology is already there. Is it possible that every time Obama goes into a new website, he needs to establish a user ID and then come up with a password (how many times can he use POTUS 1600?) which must be case sensitive, have at least nine characters, including at least one number, and it must be “STRONG?”

So, do I care if someone uses my ID to get into Amazon, Walmart, Fandango or the Ritz Carlton (oh yeah!) or any one of a zillion websites I surf regularly?

I am sick and tired of inventing passwords and changing my “user ID,” as ‘they’ recommend doing every so often. And what’s worse – if I don’t write them down immediately, poof … out of my head and I have to start all over. Time Magazine this week is touting all kinds of “cloud” statistics – but I wonder if anyone ever compiled the number of wasted hours spent on filling out the information requested in order to browse most websites? And then you make one eensy weensy typo and, bang, you have to start all over again. If, like me, you have fat fingers that mistakenly wander to adjacent letters on the keyboard, fergetaboutit … You’re doing this three and four times over.

The ‘they’s have me coming and going – and ‘they’ know everything there is to know about me already. This past week, every time I go into my email, I get pictures of hammocks, shoe racks, Italy, designer sheets and – well – you don’t have to know everything – but those were my most recent searches.

So, I wrote down my latest password for www. XYZ – It’s on a scrap of paper somewhere in the jungle of my desk. But where? Ah yes … there it is, finally. NOW what do I do with it? What do YOU do with yours? Okay, I’m feeling risky — and I’m telling! I go into my WORD DOCS and simply add (in alphabetized order) the new site and password. I have four single spaced pages of passwords, some of which I used only once, recently. Others of which I used only once seven or more years ago, and, when I try to get back into the site, my password is no longer valid. Here I go again.

Ah, but then I’m always changing one or more … and back into my DOCS I go. The clock is ticking. More time wasted. So I print out the entire four pages – and Computer be damned – I find one of those old fashioned things called pencils – cross out the old password and do a write-in with the new one.

What happened to fingerprints, voice ID, retina recognition or whatever new technology is surely in the pipelines? One year away? five years? 10? Meanwhile, I consult the four-page printout on my desk for each “open sesame” to a website. I feel like I have retro-gressed to the dark ages.

Forget Google drones, 3-D printing, computer watches – get me one universal SECURE password. Puleeeze!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Social media to the max – Do we really want this?

Posted on 14 August 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Here is the karmic confluence of events that triggered this column:

1) I have spent the last several months cursing Facebook, cursing, that is – the amount of time I have wasted – thrown it into unchartered cyberspace, down the drain — time, a major and significant commodity at my age. And, as well, feeling close to being a hostage to its magnetic lure, as one “look” (like?) begets another, and I am sucked into its inane, nonproductive and mostly socially vapid vortex.

2) Having nothing to do with the above, and because I am a fan of the author, I am about 50 pages south of completion of David Eggers’ book “The Circle,” which – purely coincidently is about the predicted long-term effect of having social media creep into our lives, squirting us with endless transparencies that can never be redacted and asking the question: “Will constant surveillance result in a more honorable (perfect?) society, as people fear to have their bad behaviors flashed onto world screens?” It also illuminates the end-game of a society which has the ability to monitor, disseminate, record and analyze every breath we take, and, eventually, every thought we entertain.

The book is not up to Eggers’ literary reputation and the writing has major flaws, but the concept is pure and prescient.

3) Today, I got caught up with curiosity about one of the meetups for which I had – eons ago – signed up. (Meetups : a group of local people who were initially strangers to each other, but who share a specific interest — meeting to enhance that interest) I followed it in maze-like fashion, dumped eventually into “LinkedIn, “another social media “darling,” and discovered two people I would like to contact and thought, “How wonderful that I can contact them and perhaps be enriched by those contacts.”

And so, as always, I land squarely in the middle, excoriating extremism, exhorting the powers that be to put the brakes on serious boundaries, while commending the existence of tools by which we can actually improve our lives. While I hope that we have not already gone beyond the slippery slope, unable to stop the rush towards the ultimate BIG BROTHER society (pssst! I think we are there already!) I am not sure that there are enough of us – and this may be generational – to foresee such a damning future.

It’s not really comfortable to sit on a fence like this. It is certainly not a sign of bold leadership, but is, in fact, a position reflecting thoughtfulness, and the avoidance of hasty decision-making often leading to disaster. It’s a slow-down and meditate and weigh-the consequences position, reflecting less passion and more mindfulness — “mindfulness,” by the way, garnering numerous powerful allies and practitioners these days.

I am not advocating the dumping of social networking – which is already beyond control. It’s more like look both ways before you cross the street against a red light. And with all those trucks barreling along the road, it is the better part of wisdom to avoid them.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: TRAVELIN’ THE OPEN ROAD – WITH ‘THE VOICE’

Posted on 03 July 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I can still recall those fanciful BSP days — Before Smart Phones – when the fun of taking a road trip – for me – was keeping the map on my lap and following it as the car wheels rotated. I’d “X” our departing point — and circle our destination – and study the names of all the towns and route numbers along the way. Blessings on AAA – and their tour books.

Excellent “navigator” that I was, I also became a historian and thespian, as I read aloud to my trusty driver from the great literary texts that related all the salient historical and recreational information about even the most obscure underpopulated hamlets along the byways.

That was “then.” But it is now 2014 –the age of “Siri” and any number of voices projected by the invisible ones. Thus, on a trip this past weekend through Central Florida with my very grown-up, No. 1 son, I had to endure his constant assurance that “The Droit will get us there.”

I hand-held his old, hidden-under-the-seat, humongous 2005 Walmart Road Map Book of the USA, flipping immediately to Florida. (MY handy accessible fold-up AAA map having been disposed of when I moved, assured by my progeny that maps were passé) I easily spotted the “Winter” town of our destination, (there’s Winter Park, Winter Haven, Winter Springs, Winter Garden) while HE was busy trying to get the Droit Talking Lady to direct us to our “spot.” Relying completely on his mantra: “The Droit will get us there,” I closed the map book and my eyes, and relaxed.

Alas, we went 25 miles out of our way before I woke up, looked around at the signs and realized that he had confused his “Winters.” (How would the Droit lady know THAT? – and I was asleep!) And so, with dogged persistence and time a-wastin,’ he managed to convey a new message to “The Voice,” as we turned back from Winter Haven towards Winter Garden, our Winter of choice. (More on that nice choice at another time.)

Some of you may love Siri and the Droit Lady. I, for one, harbor great antipathy for both. Siri doesn’t understand a word I say, despite my “elocution”– trained speech. I am sick to death with having to repeat myself to her – and then getting no response anyway. And the Droit Lady (this goes for all navigation voices, of course!) is one big nag, interrupting conversation as she engages in redundant directions and shutting up only when we need to know immediately — if we turn left or right. That’s when she takes her break!

Don’t get me wrong. I love living in the Internet age. I love what my computer can do – and even what my smartphone can do. But golly gee-whiz — I really miss my maps.

Have a happy July 4th — at home—or travelin’ SAFE.

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