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.
I’m glad you’re back in the land of the technologically enabled. Did you get lots of writing done in the old-school pen and paper fashion? Do you now how a number of blog posts to type up and other work to show for the month of downtime?
I’m trying to imagine a whole month of being disconnected… *shudders* It sounds like a nightmare. lol I pull my hair out when I go over my bandwidth cap a few days before my ISP month cycles and I have to suffer ultra-slow speeds (like the days of dial up *jaw drops*) but I think I might go crazy (crazier?) if I had no computer at all. That’s probably why I have more than one.
I’m glad you’re back now, JD. I’m sure you can think of a list of reasons to appreciate technology having done without it a whole month. And, you might just miss the “quiet” of your disconnection a little and yearn for December all over again.
Ah, Rebecca! Thanks for your comments and if you only knew how serene December was not for me! (Other obligations crowded in, mainly my jewelry passion…) Ever since I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, I fantasize about being alone (really all alone) for a brief stint. But, hey, I do have a lot of titles and ideas with notes for blog posts and other writing projects! Wink, wink!
I absolutely LOVE this blog post of yours! You nailed it!
Thanks for your kind words, Elin. Rumbling thoughts keeping me awake at night find a way out!
I applaud you for all you do – even if you feel you can’t add chatting to that list! Also, I thought you gave up coffee!
Candace, you are so sweet! The coffee thing crept back in via a neighbor with half-n-half temptations and the occasional Café au lait, but… that’s another story!
A year ago I too lost a “communication tool” in December to a google search gone worm/virus…oh my gosh was that ever creepy. I ended up writing posts at the library that month. Crazy.
That does sound creepy, Karen and would freak me out, too. Did you have to write in spurts at the library, i.e., did they have timed allotments of computer time? I had to do research that way one year when a “too good to be true” freelance project landed in my lap while I was on vacation, circa pre-laptop availability! So much for not being reachable!
Glad you’re back, and it’s very good to see Captain Kirk here, who would approve of you getting yourself out of any technological problem, or other problem. Yay for you!
Thanks, Kathleen! Yes, what’s not to love about Captain Kirk!