Get Off My Lawn, Technology!

You know how they say it’s important to keep stretching your mind so that the old brain cells don’t atrophy? Like brush your teeth with your left hand if you’re right-handed…or learn a new language…or take a different route to an oft-visited spot.

But I don’t have to bother with all that. All I have to do is check in to my tech-heavy platforms occasionally. That is, assuming I can still get into ’em. Because everything–EVERYTHING–is constantly changing and you need a degree in quantum physics or computer engineering or both to keep up.

Take this here blog at WordPress. For reasons only they know–though I’m sure there’s some delightfully cheery WordPress post explaining all and telling me how these changes are going to make my life easier–I’ve been switched to a different editor. Frankly, I think it’s because Blogger switched their editor, though honestly, I’m not sure who switched what first. I am sure that now, I can’t use what little brain cells I have to think up brilliant words and put ’em together into posts; I have to expend my grey matter on figuring out all the tech changes.

I realize that with everything going on in the world right now, this seems somewhat petty, complaining about the constant changes in technology. But that’s exactly what’s so annoying: with everything going on in the world, I’d like one thing, one thing to stay put for a minute.

I want my smart phone and my smart TV to quit being such smartypants. I want to slip into my website and blogging platforms without thinking, like when you’ve been on the road traveling but you finally come home and breathe that sigh of relief because you know where everything is. I want appliances that don’t have a gazillion options to figure out before I can even use ’em and I want a car that I can just get in and drive without needing a 15-minute demonstration on how the dad-blamed KEY works. I want…I want…I WANT TECHNOLOGY TO GET OFF MY LAWN.

Ahhhh, that felt good.

Anyway, I dropped in here to tell you, ironically, about my latest blog post over at The Muffin: Do You Do This? (And How It Can Make You a Better Writer). It’s ironic because…well, you’ll have to zip over there and read the post to get the irony.

Just doing my part to keep your old brain cells sharp.

P.S. I wanted to insert this very apt image in a clever and intuitive way into this post but I’ve already used up all my thinking. So here’s the pic and you are free to just imagine a great spot for it:

Learning Our Lessons

pexels-photo-404280Many years ago, after a particularly trying time, Oldest Junior Hall said to me, “Mom, I know I have to learn my lesson. But why does it always have to be the hard way?”

Why, indeed? I won’t go into the whole story about my cell phone and how it died at approximately 3:01 AM a week or so ago, but I will share that the week and a half without a cell phone was extremely challenging.

Considering that I didn’t even have a smartphone till a year and a half ago because I didn’t use my cell that much, I was pretty shocked at this reaction of mine. I mean, I smugly turned up my nose at those people constantly texting or sending pics or talking in grocery stores or whatever the heck folks were doing with their fancy schmancy cell phones.

And do I need to add that these were exactly the kinds of things I missed because I didn’t have my fancy-schmancy cell phone?!

I couldn’t take a picture of the birds outside when I was participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. ( I sorta can’t quite fathom that I was actually participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count but that’s life in the ‘burbs for you.) I stood in the grocery store, wondering if Juniorette Hall would be around for Sunday dinner and I stopped to call her in the middle of the pasta aisle and d’oh. I can’t even tell you how many times I wanted to text someone…ARRRGGGHHH.

Suffice it to say, by the end of the 10 (TEN!) cellphone-less days, my nose was firmly down. There might even have been a big tear dripping off it. So I take it all back. Every single smug word or thought I ever had. And while I’m at it, I take back every single smug word or thought I’ve ever expressed about the Interwebs or cars or laptops or appliances or hot water.

I’ve had enough of learning my lesson the hard way.

 

 

What Happened to June?

2009-06-16 10.50.44So I took off for the month of June and headed to the beach.

I know.

And I get that you kinda hate me right now, but you’ll feel better when you find out that I spent most of my time cleaning up the house. Not a little dusting here, a little mopping there clean-up. This was heavy-duty, sweaty clean-up work, and I suspect that some of these bruises are so deep, they’re permanent. Not to mention being ate up by mosquitoes.

And now you feel better, right?

So anyway, I’m back now, and I learned a little something something, being away for so long. Like…

Because I didn’t have wi-fi at the house, and I pay as I play for data, I skipped checking on Facebook and such. I don’t get a paper delivered to that house and so instead of starting the day with the news, I started the day with random reading…a novel, a book of verse, ghost stories. Sometimes, I’d watch the world news or local news, and oddly enough, I was attempting to fix a couple of channels on the cable on the same day as the gunman opening fire at the baseball practice, so I followed that news. But mostly, I just checked my email once a day, to keep up with any necessary business.

So I learned I have very little necessary business. What in the world have I been piddling around with every morning?

I learned that starting the day reading a novel or a book of verse put me in a better state of mind. Yes, I missed my AJC the first week. But by the next week, not so much. And now that I’m home, I’m beginning to wonder if I really need to read the paper every morning. I mean, after the headlines, it’s Dear Abby, the comics, and my horoscope. And if I’m being completely honest, Dear Abby ain’t what she used to be.

And I learned that life without social media is not only doable but relaxing. I love my friends, and I love knowing what’s going on in their lives, but I’m apparently incapable of balancing what I need to know versus scrolling through miscellaneous stuff. Once I checked into Facebook, I spent way too much time reading…what? I couldn’t tell you. But I can tell you that suddenly, I lost all that time I found at the beach. Time I spent working on a new manuscript. (Okay, calm down. I didn’t lie. I sweated ALL morning through the grunt work and then spent afternoons writing.)

So maybe I’ll give myself just one day a week to check social media. Maybe I’ll consider cancelling my newspaper subscription. And I’ve already stopped piddling around in my morning email routine.

Frankly, y’all, I need all the time I can wrangle. On top of the new manuscript, Precious the Laptop is gasping out her last breaths, and if you read my Muffin post, Get Smart, you’ll know how I feel about learning new technology.

I’m gonna need another vacation real soon.