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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Daughter Deals With 'Newfangled' Mobile

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Everyone reacts differently to the advances of technology. Some take them in their stride, while others are endlessly fascinated. I have always belonged to the second group. When I was 4 years old, my father brought home a crystal set, a little box with earphones. He sat spellbound listening to the broadcast of an opera from the Bolshoi Theater. More than anything, he loved to share his new toys with us.

He later bought a more powerful radio, the 6N1 model, and we listened in amazement to radio broadcasts from distant lands. And when he showed up with an even fancier model, the all-wave SVD-9, it was cause for celebration. We only had this marvel for a couple of years before the war broke out, however. Private citizens weren't allowed to have all-wave radios, so we dropped it off at a collection point and kissed it goodbye.

After the war my father bought a television set, the KVN1, and wrote me an ecstatic letter about it. So I guess you could say that I inherited my delight in newfangled gadgets from my father. Every new acquisition, from a mechanical pencil sharpener to a telelvision set, was a major event in our home.

Not long ago my daughter Lyuda, an experienced physician, gave her husband a significant look and announced that the head of her department at the hospital had just bought a mobile phone. I took note of this hint, but before I had a chance to act on it, my grandson Alyosha, Lyuda's son, bought her a gorgeous mobile phone for her birthday with all the bells and whistles.

"It's incredible!" my daughter exclaimed as Alyosha explained how the phone worked. "But if I live to be a hundred I'll never remember how to use it. And what if the phone rings while I'm seeing a patient, or it wakes someone up?"

"You can turn off the ringer and set the phone to vibrate when a call comes in," her son explained.

The next day, Lyuda took her new phone to work. She put it in the breast pocket of her white, neatly pressed lab coat and quickly forgot about it as she went about her business.

Later, during rounds, she felt something begin to vibrate under her coat. When she realized that the vibration was coming from her chest she panicked and began to fumble in her pockets with trembling hands, finally extracting her new telephone.

The senior attending physician laughed.

Now she wears it on a cord around her neck, and she's no longer frightened by the buzz it makes when it vibrates.

"If only they could come up with a way so that calls bearing good news rang differently to calls bearing bad news. That would be great!" she said.

Vladislav Schnitzer is a pensioner and journalist living in Moscow.