Posted by: foodtalker | March 5, 2011

full circle

Just about every month, maybe more often, my son tries to cajole me into changing aol as my email server.  It’s an ongoing campaign of his.

Nearly everyone I know is frustrated with the fact that I’m still on aol and their question always is: “Why won’t you switch?” 

Well, here’s why.  I don’t like change.  I’ve been using aol since the beginning of time and I’m attached.  It’s part of my persona.  I’m a loyal friend.  A thick and thin sort of person.  There have been times when I’ve been irritated and frustrated and I’ve explored other options, but I’ve never been convinced that switching would improve the deal.  I like my homepage.  It feels like home.

And if I were to change and adopt another email identity, wouldn’t it be like life on the lam?  How would some of my more vague and peripheral friends find me if I underwent an email identity change?  Receiving an automated response that my AOL email address was no longer available?  Would they lament my disappearance?  Would they Google me?  How hard would they try?  What if they gave me up for dead?

I’ve heard friends tout Gmail as so much better.  Really?  Will it automatically answer my emails for me?  Will it send smiley faces?  Can it cook dinner and make beds, be seductive?  Unless it has something exceptional to offer, well, what’s the point? 

My girlfriend Rowena said that Gmail has unlimited storage.  But, as I look about my home, bulging at the seams, I’m not sure that their cyber warehouse will help with storing my stuff.    

Changing an e-mail account might be simple, but not for me.  It’s an identity crisis.  One look at all the steps involved and I start to doubt myself.   How to summarize myself in a word?  Besides, all the code names I think of have been taken and require additional numbers.  Who wants to be KateSavage1038976?  Adding a dot doesn’t help.  And I’ve run out of passwords that I can remember.

Then last week someone who has been trying to wean me off aol told me that it wasn’t tech savvy and it’s the email address old people use.   

This didn’t bother me as much as it should.  Maybe because I’m beginning to feel old anyway.  Is AOL the elder’s badge of honour?  And anyway why do I have to be savvy in every area of life?   I read the New York and the London Times on-line every day,  I know how to download a book on iTunes and sync it to my iPhone, I use Skype and text all the time, so I’m not such a total Luddite.  Although I think Twitter is for the birds.

Whilst it’s true that many of my friends abandoned aol long ago, I feel a bond with those who have remained connected.  Shout out to you all.  There’s kudos in loyalty.  We’re the generation that listened to cassette tapes on Sony Walkmans.  We still have albums on vinyl.  We have VCR’s.  And landlines.  We’ve dug in for the duration and we’re not going anywhere.

Anyway, at what point did an email address become the be-all descriptor of who we are?  Is getting an email from someone with a Yahoo address that much sexier?  Or maybe Hotmail has a point to plug?

One of the joys of being old is that it provides an excuse to avoid change.   And maybe if I hang in there long enough, aol will go full circle and become hip again, like those cowboy boots.


  1. What a hoot! You are a wonderful writer. Thanks fo0r the smiles on this rainy day.

  2. haaaaa I so relate! My son keeps bugging me also about aol, AND I feel the very same way! I had a great giggle this morning thanks for that.

    p.s. I have a Gmail acct…..makes me feel like I’m on vacation when I use it…ut always glad to be back home.

  3. Kate, you are a wonderful writer! This was a hoot. — Moira

  4. A friend once told me that courage isn’t in moving on, it is in standing still avoiding change, but another friend told me that all it is progress. Progress is as progress does, but the right progress is necessary.

  5. A toast to our AOL sisterhood! We must stick together. I too, fear no more e’mails if I switch. My reasoning is they are all free so why bother now after all these years.

  6. You are a good writer Kate, and I found your blogs interesting. That is a lovely photo, and if that is recent, you are not “old”, not even close to “biddie”. In regards to your Nov 6 entry I suggest:
    Sometimes what appears as narcissism is really a manisfestation of an inferiority complex. Don’t be too hard on the guys… it really should not be a “battle” between the sexes.
    I hope you find a compatible bloke to “fight” with soon.

  7. my stepson who is 50 and very tech savvy has used aol since the beginning and sees no reason to change. with 1000s of work and personal contacts I guess he might lose some of them if hw changed. seems to work for him. i use hotmail now outlook and it has great new features but my email address is still which works so i can be found and i can still use an improved service. and i do this on a mac. i like staying the same where i can. I understand the need to keep some things the same though people change there addresses all the time. i like your post.
    Alan C

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