Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Touch of Technophobia

It is amazing how much I love the idea of new technology and how much I resist (out of abject terror) the implementation of it in my life. I get completely hung up on being able to "do it right" (aka perfectly) before I take step one. It is paralyzing.

When I am faced with incorporating a new technology, say, a cell phone that takes pictures and plays an obnoxious array of customized ring tones, my amazing procrastination abilities come to the fore . I delay and pussy-foot around all the while expressing delight, excitement, and enthusiasm for said new technological wonder. (Can ya' tell I'm Southern?!) I am loathe to acknowledge (outloud) how inadequate I feel when faced with a small (yet expensive), time-saving (hahahahaha), culturally imperative device. I can think of things that must be looked up (like which obscure tv show has the theme song that goes hmm, la la, be dah). I can think of people to poll ("What do you think of my new V-tech turbo 1.2 Qhz titanium hulled communication modulator?") I can find magazine articles to read comparing column upon column of incomprehensible features found in all the latest doohickeys like mine (like mine but different - probably exactly like mine but cheaper, more powerful, and "easier to use" if only I could decipher the symbol key for the rating categories!). I can refuse to leave my house therefore obviating the need for a cell phone at all! The list of things I can find to do while I'm fixing to get ready to think about getting started to use my new can't-live-without-it (although I did until just now) thingy grows and grows. It is my defense mechanism for putting off the inevitable moment I start finding out all of the things I CAN'T (but should be able to) do.

For instance, during the recent cell phone replacement ordeal, I discovered that what I can't do is turn my cell phone on when I want to make a call (or turn it off so that it stays off when I'm in the movie theater.) I can't set up my voicemail, let alone check it. (Though I'm tempted to take that one off the list as it's turned out to be an unexpectedly pleasant lack.) I can't take pictures or save them as "wall paper" on the"desk top" of my PHONE! (When exactly did phones get walls and desks??) I can't set the alarm feature to remind me of appointments or wake me up on time while traveling, but somehow I did manage to set the silly thing to go off at precisely 4:13 (a.m. - natch!) every day.

I should say for the record that I am married to a man who would be the first to sign up to have experimental neural enhancing cyber thingies implanted in his brain. He was in "IT" when he was 8 - and they didn't even have "IT" then - just a bunch of brilliant nerds who took apart toasters and put them back together in a way that enabled them to hack into the Dartmouth something something network. I broke out in hives the first time someone IM'd me (two years ago)(even though I'd set it up, pinged them, and sat awaiting a response).
You know, I wasn't always haunted by phones and panicked by messages. In fact, I used to think of myself as quite savvy and technologically daring. And then I had children. Wee bairns who, even though pre-verbal, were never the less able to make my attempts at electronic media manipulation look pathetically clumsy compared to their graceful assimilation. My children as a herd, absorb new technology. Literally - they glom over it like amoebas (amoebae? amoebi? See? I'm doing it already! I am fixing to stop writing this - my very first post - because I can't remember the difference between Latin and Greek plural forms nor from which of those two languages the word 'amoeba' originates. I feel compelled to stop and look it up or apologize for not already knowing it - but I'm not going to do either because the POINT is....) My children suck new things up into their tentacles and voila! They instantly understand what to do even if the new technological widget has twelve different control buttons. Presumably, the Geeky Widget Inc. product development staff understands that my children do, in fact, have tentacles and are therefore fully capable of using twelve buttons (and a random number of joystick toggle hoojer-ma-boppers) simultaneously.

For a while there, I was under the delusion that as soon as I took the time away from my reading/crafty hobbies/wincing at the decibel level of the many media machines propagating in our "family" room, that I, too, would quickly intuit the how's and wherefore's of the modern electronic world. I'm a sci-fi fan for heaven's sake! Larry Niven! Vernor Vinge! William Gibson!!! I can get this stuff.

And the machine universe replied, "Silly rabbit! That is the equivalent of saying that because you loved Snoopy as a kid, flying his dog house while pretending to be the Red Baron, the FAA should give you a pilot's license!" Fact - at the age of three, my youngest could x,square, and triangle circles around me. I've never been able to catch up. (Digression - it's exactly like that lesson in compound interest over time where the very wise 15 year old puts $5 a month into an account for a year and leaves it completely alone and then the 30 year old schmuck who didn't start saving early enough slaves to put $500 a week into savings for the next 30 years and he still can NEVER catch up!! That's the kind of gap I'm talking about!)

But there's HOPE!! And maybe it's the technology equivalent of winning the lottery. I have discovered a small loophole in the cyberese small print of my official contract with Technophobes R U. Daily, I already sit smack dab in the middle of quilt studio cum office - typing away at my computer. In all the time that I save by not being able to play Crimson Skies and Robot Death Monkeys, I do research. I write letters. I journal. I blog without blogging. I'm a master at blogging without blogging! And now I'm blogging! Getting photos and linky things attached in all the right places may be more challenging - but I'm up to it. After all, what's the worst that can happen? (Now mind you, I can usually come up with a bazillion and two horrible things that can happen as a result of any action or non-action I may take but for once... I can't. ) Is this a sign of things to come? Is the grip of technophobia loosening? Have I finally taken my sweet hubby's advice (delivered in his best Scooby-Doo voice) to 're-rax'? Is blogging really all it's cracked up to be? Dare I dream it to be so? (The answers to this and other completely irrelevant questions will undoubtedly be the subject of future posts.)



Donna said...

("What do you think of my new V-tech turbo 1.2 Qhz titanium hulled communication modulator?")

If it's what I think it is - I can't wait to see it!


Lord Cian said...

So tell us what you're think of Donna! That might just go on a christmas list! :)