My technological curve is longer than most. Some laugh at me for being “behind the times”, and maybe it’s just coincidence that these same people are invisibly chained to their technotoys, these various devices running practically every aspect of their lives in such a way that the most totalitarian of government dictators would envy.
It all started in 7th grade when I dang near missed the boat on ever understanding computers. Up until then I literally shook inside at the mere prospect of occupying space within spitting range of a computer; I was so certain I was going to screw it up. As much of royal pain in the ass as it is to have to hand-write everything, I still much preferred it.
Fed up with me monopolizing our phone line, my parents had my own private line installed and with it, a phone/answering machine combo. It used microtapes (remember those?). I was in heaven. By then I was also comfortable routing my Nintendo through my VCR into my TV, but that was as far as it went.
So far, I have never sent a single text message in my life, and I am damn proud of that. I even had the texting feature turned off completely.
Hell, I don’t even like owning a cell phone. I got dragged into the cell market kicking and screaming in 1999, and as a massage therapist and a resident with a patient load (as I was, up until recently), it was a begrudging fact of life. I despise the fact that I can’t get one without a camera on it.
Our answering machine doesn’t even work, and I’m not in a hurry to fix it (those close enough to be privy to the home number definitely know our cell number, which has voice mail). We don’t use a microwave; I’d opt for a fire pit if I didn’t live on less than one-fifth of an acre surrounded by nosy neighbors.
I didn’t get my first CD player until late 1991, our first DVD player until 2003 and I’m putting my foot down on Blu-Ray, boycotting it completely. And screw Blackberry, iPhone, and every other “smart”-phone knockoff.
I don’t trust a lot of technology. Nanotech and biotech are just plain freaky shit that we shouldn’t even be dabbling in, much less screwing with. I’m holding out against HDTV as long as I can; after all, they doubled the cycles per second from 60 to 120, and yet it’s not like the picture got that much better, so what are they using all the extra frames for? Cell phones and new cordless phones cause DNA changes in your brain cells in as little as 10 minutes and are now the number one cause of acoustic neuromas (tumors of the auditory nerve that comes off your brainstem and allows you to hear).
And GPS? Forget it. I buy map books and study them…prior to beginning my trip.
As for computers? As much as I can be seen on one or at least with one in tow, and as much of my life as they occupy, I honestly don’t like them much. They’re one of those concepts that looked better on paper. Maybe they were more reliable back in the era of the ENIAC (if you have to ask…) but everything went to shit as soon as Bill Gates touched it. DOS wasn’t so bad (I finally did learn to navigate and administer DOS) but everything since then shouldn’t be dignified with the rest of a sentence. Hell, I even get irritated at the automated features in Microsoft Word. I didn’t even get on the internet until late summer 1998 and I didn’t get my first Ipod until last summer. I’m not (at least yet) on Twitter. I’ve abandoned MySpace. I had said to hell with Facebook, but when my semi-asocial partner joined, I figured what the hell.
Today my computer malfunctioned once again. My partner (non-sarcastically aka Mr. Wizard) has ruled basically everything out. Then he mentioned that sometimes electronics will grow hairs in their electrical components. Yep, apparently the electrons zig-zagging back and forth during electrical activity leave a tiny residue in their wake and this piles up, over time forming a small strand mere nanometers thick. Sometimes these strands eventually build in the way of other electrical impulse traffic and short all or part of the system. Dammit. Figures. Ugh. Times like this make me want to go back to slates and chalk, except that I have an aversion to dust. So here I sit, in a state of flexor dominance that would have my neurology professors shaking in their boots, in my comfy recliner with my other (working) computer on my lap.
So what do we do instead? I dunno. Talk on the phone. Write a letter. Keep a journal. Meet up with friends–gasp–face to face. Celebrate holidays with your family. Take pictures, with a real camera (not crappy pics with your phone). How nice it might be, to time-travel back to a time waaay before electricity. Sure, our paleo ancestors are running from tigers, still a few rungs from the top of the food chain, but how are we much different? An overbearing boss here, a psycho driver there, all of whom seem hellbent on swiping the last bit of your sanity from your clutches. At least the cavemen didn’t also have an electric bill, whereas we simply add insult to injury: live and die by the inbox or newsfeed and then pay for it (dearly) through multiple pricey services.
Time for the piece of technology I appreciate most at this point in my circadian rhythm: the Select Comfort Sleep Number mattress.