Sunday, September 16, 2018

Me and Machines

I’ve never been infatuated with machines, but have appreciated the ones that deliver something I value— from the record player to the boom box to the i-Pod (I was one of the first on my block to get that!), from the typewriter to the computer to the laptop, from the bike to the Toyota to the Prius. From the toaster to the toaster oven to the…well, toaster oven. Still not sold on the microwave.

So after happily resisting for many years now, I finally went over to the dark side and went from the landline to the flip phone to the i-Phone. I think the breaking point was taking videos in
Ghana with my camera that ran out after 6 minutes and noticing that everyone else’s photos taken on their phones were better than mine. Plus all the times I wished I had a video camera handy when kids were doing something special in class. Then there were all the times I stubbornly printed out directions and tried to read them while driving to some unknown destination, which mostly worked, but not always. And then all the people around me having merry parties on What’s Ap and me the odd guy out.

So when my older daughter said she had an “extra phone,” an i-Phone 6 because she and her husband upgraded, it seemed like the moment had come. Not that it was quite that simple. They had to have their carrier unlock it and I had to have mine open it and the Apple Store needed to do some things and on it went. But as of two days ago, it has arrived in all its mixed-bag glory.

The great thing about the flip phone is that I used it as needed and asked people to mostly e-mail me or call my landline to communicate. I never had to check to see if anyone called me on it because no one would unless we had arranged it ahead of time. But now it looks like I’ll carry this with me and people could be calling and leaving messages or texting or sending What’s Ap messages and in my worldview, I would feel responsible to check and respond. In addition to the daily checks on my e-mail, my school e-mail, my Facebook page. Do you feel what’s happening here? The designed-for-addiction is real and even the best of us are not doing well resisting.

But hey, here I am and we’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile, I bought a new set of headphones because my other broke off inside the computer, a new heavy-duty Yeti microphone to assist me in entering the world of Podcasts. Making them, not listening. And the downloading of a program (Audacity) to edit them. High learning curves all, especially for this non-electronically-infatuated-but-I’ll-do-what-needs-to-be-done-to-move-my-life’s-work-along guy. And thank goodness that I’m not teaching at school at the moment, because then I’d also have to learn the new programs of Schoolology and Parent Square and keep up with Google Drive and Dropbox and…well, you get the point. It’s simply exhausting. Whatever happened to the pipe and slippers and newspaper and dinnertime conversation and a good book and an occasional night out at the movies?

Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

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