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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the Love of Technology

Not my cartoon...  thanks to Google Plus for this image...
But, it is rather familiar behaviour...
I have spent some time going on about the downside of technology...  People stumbling through life, heads down, texting their every, dull move to one another or their Facebook account.  Believe me, none of us are interesting enough to have THAT much to share.  Who wants to read FB status' like...  "So bored."  Or, "So sick..."  I also have a hard time seeing the use of posts like, "Last week was the worst ever...  Can't believe I lived through it."  The problem with the last one is that, in the last week, the person didn't post anything other than, "So bored...", or "Wow..."  If you had the worst week ever, it must have been at least a LITTLE bit more interesting than that.  Details people!  Or perhaps, just saying nothing would be better.

We've descended to thinking that every moment must be filled with some noise, some information.  When we have nothing to say, we are afraid that that nothingness will lead to our being forgotten, being out of the loop, being...  de-friended.  I suppose there is some truth to this concern.  If you aren't constantly posting something somewhere, you may not be noticed by the millions, friends and family included, who only communicate via email or social networking sites.  Now, before I sound too "holier-than-thou", I have an admission to make.  I'm no better than anyone else!  It's true!  I am as much of a slave to the wonders of technology as you are.

I've known this for some time, but was recently reminded of it.  When I left my sales job, almost a year ago, I left behind a Blackberry that was connected every moment of every day.  That this was always by my side.  I could email at any moment of the day or night, and did, and could receive emails at any time of day or night, and did.  This dreadful little machine sat by my bed each night, charging, providing my early morning alarm, and making itself available at any time for Google searches and useless communications.  I couldn't watch a movie without accessing every bit of information about it on IMDB.  I couldn't answer a question on many topics without searching to make sure I had all of the information.  I had to read the news at least every hour.  If I awoke at 2 am and the little red light indicating a new message was flashing, I was up and awake to see what I needed to respond to.  It was truly awful.  It was also one of the things that caused me to realize that I was on the entirely wrong track.  For months after I left this job, I was free.  I had no Blackberry.  In fact, I barely had a cell phone (I still don't!).  It was glorious.  I thought I'd kicked the habit.  And then...  I was made aware of the truth of my tech-addicted life.

My laptop.  It died.  Not a pretty death, but a slow, agonizing death.  It started with odd error messages.  Incredibly slow performance.  Strange noises and excessive heat.  Fortunately, I recognized the symptoms of "something" in time to save some of my more important documents and pictures.  But, there I was, watching my online life slowly fade away.

What would I do without my laptop?  How would I work?  How would I communicate?  How would I research?  What about my blog?  Everyone would forget about it and no one would ever look at it again!  How would I get my designs and products (coming soon) out there?  How could I connect with people who might actually want to hire me for something (anything...  things are tight)?  There was no hope.  Without a laptop, I was nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Money to replace the laptop?  Hahaha!  Dreamy's birthday is just over a week away.  This is not the kind of person you give technology to, and certainly not in a veiled attempt to get something you, the giver, really need.  And then, Easter!  What Easter Bunny gives his kids a Macbook that he really intends to use himself?

Sure, I could still parent.  I could be a husband.  I could teach my Sunday School class.  I could still cook and create and talk to people.  I could write letters.  The phone still worked.  But, no email?  No blogger?  No Etsy?  What was my life worth without those?  I would, quite simply, disappear.

Of course, these dreadfully serious concerns lasted for about a day.  I was able to make a highly advantageous deal with one of my sons, possessor of a much better laptop than my own, and here I am.  Back in business.  I am shocked, and a little saddened, by how dependent on this keyboard and screen I really am.  How can I change that?  Can I change that?

Personal contact is dapper and dreamy.  Extra effort is dapper and dreamy.  And recognizing what, of the things you do, is important is dapper and dreamy.  Somehow, I was still able to work yesterday.  I spent a little more time reading and learning.  I went on an afternoon bike ride with my little seven year old in the unusually warm spring afternoon.  I lifted weights.  I designed some cards.  I did some crossword puzzles.  I enjoyed my day more than most.

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