The smallest shiny bright red car I had ever seen pulled in next to me in a parking lot, and a man almost my age finally managed to extricate himself from the thing. I smiled. Why would a man of a certain age drive around in something no bigger than your dining room table?

Then I thought of my own 99-year-old sports car. And I realized that for over 65 years, I had driven around in a wooden box that looks like a dining room table.

My sports car has no gearshift. The emergency brake is also high gear. Instead of letting out on a clutch pedal, you press down on a low gear pedal, making it counterintuitive to anyone raised on a standard shift.

You have heard of the young man who once saw a brand-new Model T in an old farmer’s barn. The farmer explained that when Model A’s first came out, he realized that he’d never learn how to shift the things so he quickly bought three Model T’s. He’d worn out one of them, was driving the second one and still had that new one in the barn.

How many times have you wished you’d bought two of something because the first one wore out and you knew you’d never learn how to operate the replacement?

When I was a boy, our milk was sometimes delivered by horse and sleigh. Several neighbors still worked with horses and wagons. There was a name for each piece of the harness, which I never learned. But without even trying I was soon on intimate terms with the most important parts of an automobile engine.

There is something about an immature brain that enables it to quickly absorb any technology to which it is exposed. I knew that when the fuel pump didn’t work in my ’32 Ford, I could fix it by cutting a small round piece out of my leather belt and sticking it into the cup that covered the push rod. I knew that I could solder a piece of copper tubing into the bottom of a 2-gallon can, attach the other end to the carburetor and bypass the fuel pump altogether. When I was 15, I never thought it strange to drive about with a 2-gallon fuel tank tied to one of the windows. Like any kid, I automatically understood the technology that made things function in my world and made use of it.

There were 30 or 40 years between the advent of the automobile and the last horse-drawn buggy in my neighborhood. The horse was not outdated overnight.

But now hardly a week goes by when we are not assaulted by some unwelcome change or complicated technical innovation that renders us helpless. The way we have chosen to live our lives has even accelerated the rate of climate change. Here on the coast of Maine, bees have been replaced by ticks. We have a few evenings in August when we don’t need to run the furnace.

My wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, bought me an Alexa voice service for my birthday. Her buddy Donna has one, and, although Donna’s Alexa couldn’t tell me how tall Paul Dirac was, Marsha got me one anyway. I was pleased.

We spent many hours trying to teach Alexa to talk.

I was reminded of the first time I signed up for internet service. As I recall, it came by telephone line from a company in Waterville. I paid for that service for six months or so, and although I spent months trying to get it to work, I don’t think it ever did.

After a week or two of fiddling, we took Alexa back to where Marsha bought it. A guru finally explained that you have to have a modern smartphone to make it work. When you buy Alexa, it is taken for granted that you have one of those new phones with the pictures on it. And if you don’t, there are a lot of things in this brave new world that are not available to you. This Alexa toy that answers questions is one of them.

We ended up getting the simpler Google version, which, being incapable of incredulity, is able to play Earl Scruggs and Dexter Gordon back to back.

Even more interesting are the newfangled Googled weather reports. You have but to ask, “Hey, Google, what’s the weather in Cape Fear?”

“Cape Fear is expecting the storm of a lifetime. For the first time the owner of the Cape Fear Wine & Beer store is considering closing because of storm surges.”

When you hear that a beer store might close because of the worst storm in a lifetime, you can breathe a sigh of relief: You know it’s not in Maine.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website: