In his column in last Sunday's State Journal, "Digital divide can impact access to health info," Dr. Zorba Paster cites a recent San Francisco restaurant experience that coincides with my Madison restaurant experience. Some restaurants are grateful for business during the pandemic and accommodate orders online or by phone. But some, apparently, are not and do not.
I have been on the receiving end of impatient refusals and sometimes outright contempt when asking to order by phone. Like Dr. Paster, I have basically been told to do it their way or the highway. I have also been condescended to, and told that something that is hard for me is “so easy.” Easy for them, that is.
This form of ageism discourages the business of older people, as well as some minorities and the poor. All of these groups experience the digital divide.
Ageism is the last bastion of the bigot who wouldn’t dare discriminate against religions, races and nationalities. It is still OK to make jokes about or sneer in contempt at those clumsy elders who aren’t quite with it.
In a recent HBO commentary, comedian Bill Mauer pointed to the many birthday cards making fun of foibles associated with aging. Ageism, he says, is still OK in America. It is also alive and well in Madison, including in our restaurants and health care systems.