86. TimeJoy looked at the parking lot’s meter and wanted to cry.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

“Crystal, it’s frustrating,” Joy said. “It’s like I’ve blinked and I’m living in a new country, where I don’t speak the language anymore.” She pointed at the lot meter. “I’m looking at it, and I have no idea what to do with this thing.”

“It’s not that hard, Mom,” Crystal said. “You just take your debit card, and….”

“It wasn’t that long ago that they had people in booths who took real, honest-to-God money,” Joy said. “Sometimes, they’d even smile at you and tell you to have a good day. Now, what do we have. Credit cards and machines, and buttons and…”

“This is more efficient,” Crystal said. “Now, it doesn’t matter when you come back – you don’t have to beat the meter.”

“It’s not just this,” Joy said. “I have to remember how to turn on the TV and the cable box in the right order. Half the stuff on my radio is beyond me, and I have no idea what a ‘bluetooth’ is. Things might not have been as ‘efficient’ as they are now, but I knew how to work them.”

She sighed and sat down on the bench beside the meter. “Don’t listen to me,” she said, seeing the worry in her daughter’s eyes. “I’m just feeling old. Things move too fast for me to catch up.”

“You’ve got me, Mom,” Crystal said, taking out her debit card. “I can translate.”