You might have noticed (or not) there weren’t any new posts from me during the month of December 2010.
In the same sentence I can honestly say I love technology and I hate technology.
Do you remember what it was like before we depended on our cell phones, our laptops, and our transporter rooms? What do I mean–transporter rooms? Oh, yeah, that hasn’t happened yet, but I bet someone is working on it. If it was on Star Trek, it’ll happen, right? Michael Crichton was thinking the same thing when he wrote Timeline.
Now maybe you were part of the car seat baby brigade and don’t remember the bittersweet joy of scrambling around for a place to sleep in the rear window of a Dodge Dart, or in one of the floor compartments on either side of the hump in the back seat. If so, you also probably can’t imagine what life was like before—oh-my-God—color TV. Or iPods and digital cameras.
My first experience with calculators (yes, I said cal-cu-la-tors) was hearing one of my high school classmate’s parents bought him the ultra-expensive, but ultra-cool Texas Instrument (TI) calculator. They were banned from class because most of us average kids’ parents couldn’t afford them. Certainly not mine.
My first experience with computers was carrying around stacks of programming cards for my EDP or electronic data processing class in college. And if you dropped your stack (as I was prone to do), you could kiss the rest of your week good-bye trying to get them back into order.
When I started my first professional job as an insurance adjuster, we had an office beeper (pager). I was required to be on call every third weekend in case of a truck wreck. The other two adjusters and I passed around the one beeper. Nobody except our boss liked the accessibility that device gave us.
By the time the auto appraisers got fax machines to plug into their cigarette lighters and were to start faxing repair estimates from the appraisal sight, I knew the end was near.
To this day I don’t like being overly available. Maybe it’s because when I hear the phone ring in the middle of the night, I still wake up in a panic groping for my truck wreck gear.
One of my sisters asked recently why I’m not logged on to “chat” on Facebook. It would be lovely, but honestly, I don’t have time to keep up with exchanging moment-by-moment thoughts that pop into my head with all my friends’ moment-by-moment thoughts that pop into their heads.
Live by the sword; die by the sword. By the first of December I had a dilemma.
I got up at 5 AM to jumpstart the day, scan my e-mail and FB messages, and catch up with the world in the blink of an eye, when what happened (again)? The wireless signal somehow got “stuck” and so I was “stuck” as well. I checked and double-checked the connection; everything was reportedly working fine. However, the page took forever to download and by 5:30 I was still waiting.
Five forty-five and … the page was still frozen. Not just stuck with the little spinning wheel telling me things were working; literally frozen. I couldn’t move anywhere online; only in Word. (Which may have been the Universe’s way of telling me to get back to business and WRITE.)
Somewhere between my first and second cup of coffee, I looked at the clock and it wasn’t five forty-five; it was six forty-five. Another hour had gone by. I felt like screaming. I felt like pitching my laptop across the room until it smashed into a million pieces. I felt like waking my husband who slept oblivious next to me. Finally he woke up, but by then… I only felt like going back to bed.
Which brought me to a new dichotomy. How could I rant and rave against technology when I used it to post my blog and communicate with the potential world?
The good news was that without the distraction or barrage of information, I could write without an interruption (or an escape mechanism) and concentrate on the business of writing. Not to mention what else I might be capable of doing if I finished writing and walked away from the computer.
So, we called the computer repairman and were told we needed to send in my laptop for a new mother board (Is it just me or are we all starting to sound like Captain Kirk? …mother board/mother ship?…), so we did. I lived without it during December since that hectic month demanded my attention for all sorts of holiday activities, celebrations, and deadlines. When I did need to write, well, that’s what beautiful pens and any type of papers and notebooks are meant for.
Now, my laptop is back, I’m back, and I’m ready to write. Watch out. As for technology? As long as I remember the Internet is a tool to be used, not something to use me, I think I’ll be fine. ~JD here.