On March 8, I said to Emily:

“Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour when you go to bed Saturday night.”

Her response: “Ah, I don’t have any clocks.”

It was like being whacked in the head.

Emily is my colleague here in the office. She is 23 and smart as a whip. I like working with young people who are intelligent, insightful and tech savvy.

I especially like the tech savvy part. When I can’t figure out something on my phone or computer, they fix me up in a flash.


But back to the clock thing.

“What do you mean, you don’t have any clocks?” I asked. “How do you set an alarm to get up in the morning?”

“I use my phone,” Emily said, almost as if to also say, “Duh.”

But of course. Why have a clock when you have a phone.

Stupid me. I probably don’t need a clock either, though I’ve used them all my life and can’t imagine looking over at the wall to see what time it is, only to find a blank space.

Emily and other young reporters teach me all the time that I’m getting old.


They grew up with this tech stuff and it’s second nature for them. As much as I think the world is too technical, I also realize it makes my life a lot easier in many ways.

Got a question about what to call the plastic or metal tip of a shoelace — as I was asked recently?

Pick up the phone and Google it, as I did.

It’s an aglet, in case you’re curious.

Emily was telling me and my newsroom colleagues that she had a dream in which all her teeth fell into her mouth and they were swishing around like marbles. I immediately said such a dream means fear of getting old, but another colleague, Stacy, immediately Googled it and said it can also mean fear of losing something precious.

Before Emily, a reporter named Jesse held the desk next to mine. He said once that he was so attached to his cellphone and used it so much that he could not go a day without it. In fact, he did go a day without it and described the feeling as like having withdrawal symptoms.


OK, I get that the world has changed. Millennials snicker when they hear our stories of what it was like before email and cellphones, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

When I was a kid, we did the same when my father would exclaim the world was a lot better off before TV and fast cars.

When I and my siblings bought my folks a new television many years ago that had remote control, I explained how Dad wouldn’t even have to get off the couch to switch stations. His response was: “Oh, no, we won’t be doing that — we go and turn the channel with our hand.”

That lasted only a few weeks until he became hooked on the remote. He misplaced it one day and went crazy trying to find it.

The fact that Emily does not own a clock, however, really got to me.

I admit I stopped wearing a watch several years ago because clocks are everywhere, including in cars and on my cellphone. But I still must have a clock in every room, except, well, the bathroom of course, and I don’t think that will change any time soon.


I am reminded of another time I was stunned by something someone said — something that made me feel old.

It was in 2003 — 15 years ago — just before “Empire Falls” was filmed in Waterville, Winslow and Skowhegan. I went to Bee’s Diner in Winslow to interview the owner, a young woman who had agreed to allow the crew to film there.

Paul Newman and Ed Harris were to shoot a scene in the restaurant, and I asked her how she felt, knowing Paul Newman would be in her midst. She paused and said: “To tell you the truth, I don’t know who he is. I even saw a picture of him and I didn’t recognize him.”

As when Emily pronounced she doesn’t have any clocks, I was stunned. My world stopped.

Who doesn’t know Paul Newman, one of the most popular Hollywood heartthrobs ever?

He is now gone and the movie shoot, which was all the rage for the several weeks it was here, is but a memory.


Which is how the world works. Time marches on.

And yes, we baby boomers are getting old. And older. Every year goes by faster than the last.

I recently saw a young kid at an antiques shop look at a dial phone and ask what it was.

I have a friend in her 90s who still uses a dial phone and has never owned a TV.

She scours the newspapers every day, listens to public radio and reads, reads, reads.

She’s very content, living in a house that has been passed down through the generations of her family — a beautiful tribute to the past, full of antiques and exquisite memories. Not much has changed in the house over many years except for the addition of electricity and running water.

Every time I visit her, I sense she holds a secret to happiness — one that remains elusive to those of us rushing, running and hurrying into the future.

Hmmm … I wonder what it is?

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter for 30 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at acalder@centralmaine.com. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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