Tag Archives: technology

So Much Life, So Little Time

25 Oct

I used to have a cell phone that would dial anyone I wanted. All I had to do was say, “Dial Dad,” and the phone would dial my dad. I thought that was a pretty cool feature. I pictured myself flipping my phone open, saying, “Dial Dad,” and resting my fingers while the phone did the work.

I never did get the phone to dial my dad. I never did get the phone to be able to dial anyone. I never figured out the voice dial feature. I felt bad about it. “You are a typical over-a-certain-age technology user,” I said. “You’re old and set in your ways and you can’t figure out something that a 15-year-old could probably do in his sleep.”

What happened to the woman who early adopted technology, I thought? What happened to the woman who bought a one megabyte Mac and could keep that puppy running no matter what hung it up? A fifteen-year-old, say my son, for instance, can manipulate technological devices like he shares DNA with them. How could it be, I thought, that I could not do something that my son, with whom I DO share DNA, can?

The answer came to me after trying for two weeks to get some writing samples to appear in an attractive manner on a website.  I was backing the car out of the drive, taking my son to yet another lesson or doctor’s appointment or school function. He was sitting in the passenger seat, oblivious to his surroundings, fingers flying over his iPod Touch. He was likely selecting a playlist, but he could just as easily have been programming a nuclear warhead.

And it hit me: he has no life.

My son embraces technology because, really, what else does he have to embrace? He sits in his room with his computer for hours at a time. If there is a new technology that interests him, he can spend hours, literally hours, trying to figure it out.

I, on the other hand, can spend about twenty minutes, none of which are uninterrupted.

Here is roughly how my website adventures unfold. First, I do a Google search to determine what my options are for hosting and building my website. While I wait for the results to pop up, I hear a disturbing noise from the kitchen. Upon investigation, I find that the cat has sent another teapot over the counter edge. There are china chunks swimming in a pool of warm tea and sodden tea leaves. I clean up the china and tea, all the while cursing the cat. Time up. Kids start coming home.

The next day, I decide I have iWeb so I’ll use iWeb. I watch the iWeb tutorial on the Apple website. This takes so long that I have no time left to do the actual work. Time up. Kids start coming home.

The next day, I realize my samples are printed on paper with ink. This is no longer an acceptable format for samples, though my ultimate goal is to be paid to produce actual writing that will be printed on paper with ink. I scan the samples between folding laundry, making snacks for my daughter and her friend, letting the dog out, letting the dog in and cleaning up after the cat, again.

The next day, I run errands. I do the grocery shopping, which requires trips to two stores. I go to the dry cleaners. They have lost my comforter. I add “buy new comforter” to the to-do list. I go to the library. I am an efficiency demon in the library. I have selected my book online and put it on hold. My book is waiting for me. I grab my book and head for the self-check lane. I scan my card. I have been in the library for less than two minutes. My account activity pops up. My daughter has $18 in late fees. I slink over to the “you didn’t get your books back on time, you slacker” line and my efficiency goes straight out the window. I pay the fees, I get in my car. My time is up. Kids will be coming home soon.

The next day, I am defeated. I do nothing about getting the samples onto my website. I wonder why I even need a website. Surely there are writers who don’t have websites.

The next day, after my husband assures me that all the good writers have websites, I return to the website problem. I actually make progress. I find an iWeb template I like and start building my site. Of course, I feel bad about myself for not making the thing from scratch. I can make a chocolate cake from scratch, why can’t I make a website from scratch? I remind myself that plenty of people make and eat cakes from a box and enjoy every bite. I soldier on.

The next day, the website is complete except for the writing samples. The children are not due home for at least two hours. I have run, I have made phone calls, the dog is in his crate, the cat has been fed, the teapots are out of reach. In short, uninterrupted time is mine. I prepare the writing samples web pages as if I know what I’m doing. I drop the scanned writing sample images into their intended places. I am almost out of time. I save the changes and visit my website. I click on the samples page. The samples look like crap. They are too small to read. Time up. Kids coming home.

I am really good at a lot of things. I can fold a fitted sheet so you can’t tell it from a flat sheet. I can drive while handing a juice box to a child in the back seat. I can get two kids to eye doctor appointments on the same day, right before dad gets home and still have dinner on the table at the regular time. I am really good at these things because I do them a lot.

Fifteen-year-olds are really good at working with technology because they do it a lot. They have no lives, they have to fill the time somehow. I, however, have too much life and not enough time to live it. So, I can’t whip out a website as quickly as I can a batch of cookies. I bet if I make those cookies sugar cookies and I make them as big as my son’s head, then he’ll help me fix my website. If I make a lot of cookies, I bet I could even get him to program my cell phone.

Copywrite 2010 by Janice M. Lindegard. All rights reserved.

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