Downside of an upgrade

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Downside of an upgrade continues his Aspects of Ageing series of true short stories and observations.


‘Me mate’, my 86-year-old partner (also known as  ‘Management’), recently invested in a new smartphone. The old one ‘cooked’, she said.

Since she got it, I see and hear much less of and from her.

She sits for hours, thumbs and fingers tapping the screen mumbling to herself. Occasionally she uses words that are unladylike.

At other times, she explains to me what she has discovered. Even if I was not as deaf as I am, I would understand next to nothing of what she tells me.

I have repeatedly asked for a clear and concise definition of the difference between an ‘upgrade’ and a ‘download’. I am still waiting for an explanation that makes any sense to my ‘tiny mind’.

I was consoled recently by watching a film clip of two teenage boys trying to work out how to operate a dial telephone.


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing. Peter says the anecdotes are based on fact and “reflect the reality that there are many forms of ‘age abuse’.”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

Related articles:
The sparrows of Doi Suthep
The loving couple
Extended families

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