Greetings From Old People Camp

Signing up for Instagram; YOLO!

Special to The TribuneAugust 22, 2013 

Suzanne Davis

You know what I love about being a famous writer? I can sit outside, tush in deck chair, iPad in lap, and say to my husband, Mick, “Sorry, sweetheart, you’ll have to clean up the kitchen again; I’m working ...”

I should have thought of this years ago. Lately, though, I’ve spent less time in my “office” and more time communing with a bunch of (by that I mean three) people under the age of 15. As you can imagine, much time was spent between us in serious discussion, and I’m here to tell you, I emerged from the experience with my illusions of hipness shattered.

Turns out, I’m more geezer than I thought. Let me enlighten you, my senior brethren: Apparently, no young person wastes her precious time with Facebook anymore — these days, it’s all about Instagram. My 12-year-old grandniece patiently explained that Instagram and Facebook are totally different: Instagram is really cool because it’s all about photos and text, and Facebook is lame because it’s just about text, and, um, oh ... some photos.

Always known as a quick study, I caught on immediately. Sweet niece was kind enough to set me up with my very own Instagram account, and she politely looked away while I made up a new password. Actually, I was hoping she’d watch so I could text her later to remind me what I’d entered. She left me stranded as she flitted off to the beach with her family, and I didn’t get a tutorial on how to use my new app. Honestly, kids these days spend way too much time outside.

My favorite new knowledge, however, came from my grandnephew, who inadvertently taught me to use the acronym, YOLO, “You only live once.” He was appalled when I said I couldn’t wait to include it in my next text, because of course, once it appeared under my name, he could never use it again. He obviously didn’t realize that his sister had just thrown Instagram under the bus! Let that be a lesson to parents of teenagers: If you want your kid to stop doing something, just ask someone over the age of 65 to take it up.

One of my other fast friends is a 7-year-old named Miss Em. Last week, we were “hanging” on the deck engaged in our usual debate over the pros and cons of snails, and to steer the conversation away from the fact that I’m a murderer of mollusks, I told her the story of the lone pine tree on the hill across from our house. Long ago, our kids named it Skytree, ostensibly because all they could see behind it was a vast expanse of blue. Skytree can be seen from all over the South County, so if you’ve noticed it, consider yourself formally introduced. Skytree stood solo for at least 50 years, but wonder of wonders, sometime in the last few, she spawned a child. I didn’t know the old girl had it in her! As the months pass, baby tree gets more and more pronounced, standing up, straight and tall next to mama.

Just out of curiosity, I asked Emma what she thought the baby tree’s name should be. Without skipping a beat she said, “Mary.”

Mary? I’m not a stranger to unique names — back in the day, my niece did name her baby doll Streetlights, and Mary does have a certain panache. Imagine the duo, Skytree and Mary, ever vigilant on the hill, two ecological superheroes.

As I write this from my “office,” I can see evidence that, lo and behold, Skytree has reproduced again. That old girl has been gettin’ it on! She obviously lives by the mantra, YOLO! So a little Mary sibling is popping up on the horizon, and just for old times’ sake, I’d like to call the new little one, Streetlights. Watch for photos on Instagram.

Suzanne Davis is happily retired and living in the South County with her husband and their three dogs. Email her at

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