Tree of Wisdom, by Lisa Shimko

 To a Mac newbie, the Apple store is an orchard of technological awe.  Walking in off historic King Street, with its 18th century architecture, is like entering a time warp. I wander amidst the store’s rows of iPods, MacBooks, iPhones, iTouches and iEverything else, all planted on open, inviting counters, and can’t help but feel that Eve-like urge. Just a nibble. A smooth finger swipe across an open screen — images expand, apps enact, tunes play, the world and all its gizmo wizardry opens up. My mother is with me. She’s about to become the hippest 75 year old grandma around.

Before long she’s maneuvering her finger across the slim iPad screen. Whosh, a “page” turns. Swipe, the screen morphs. A turn of the wrist and the iPad shifts from landscape to vertical orientation, and my orientation shifts too–from “what?” to “wow.”  We download the SpeakIt app from iTunes for a buck ninety-nine, and voila, mom can now talk again.  She opts for “Heather,” an American female voice, altho “Lucy” with her tart British accent is on standby, a mere tap of the fingertip and she’s ours. Why not go out sounding like Tina Brown?

ALS takes you to unexpected places, like the Mac store with your mom. My sisters and I hope the iPad will become her verbal wheelchair, keeping her in the traffic of life, able to express her wants, needs, hopes and fears. The iPad is everything one wants to be: sleek, fast, thin, sophisticated, sexy, intelligent (with the complete works of Jane Austen just a finger touch away). Compared to the clunky, 20-lb antiquated devices with droid-like computerized “voices” that we tried at the ALS clinic, this slim slice of Apple is a marvel, and a gift. And so is the 75 year-old reformed technophobe who carries it around in her purse, waiting to be heard.   


~ by Stephanie on 05/12/2010.

2 Responses to “Apple,Lean-n-Sleek”

  1. love this. love the apple store – I am polishing apples there weekly, learning a new language. but to think of your mother plucking a new voice off the tree is amazing – truly a whole new mothertongue. the urge to communicate will not be stopped as long as we breathe. here’s to her.

  2. Wow. This is so cool. I’d love a blogger friend of mine, Robert Rummel Hudson, to see it. He has a daughter who is aphasic from a neurodevelopmental abnormality, and he is also a big spokesperson for AAC devices. I think I’m going to send him this link.

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