Technology is a marvelous thing. It’s both freeing and enslaving, making it difficult not to work during holidays and vacations. Computers, cell phones, iPods, etc., go with us everywhere and if we don’t take them, they’ll be available where we’re going.
Planes are barely off the ground before personal electronic devices are whipped out. People are talking on cell phones as they shop, eat, walk and do everything else. I was shocked to see someone actually using a pay phone (remember those?) at an airport recently.
We’re never more than a few clicks away from e-mail, the Internet, more information than we could possibly want and communication with the world. Therefore we are dependent on modern electronics.
I’m hesitant to admit this, but when I started writing for newspapers, I used a manual Royal typewriter. The only place you’ll find one of those these days is in a museum. It took a lot of strength to pound those keys! And if you made a mistake — well, correcting was no fun. I once worked in an office and typed for a bunch of engineers with numerous carbon copies required. Heaven help you with erasing all those mistakes. Let’s just say I had a brief career there!
Speed forward a number of years and I went to work in the public affairs office of the state highway department where I asked for an electric typewriter on my first day there. They looked at me as though I had three heads and I was dragged into the modern computer age. Thus, I marvel at the ease of word processing and the way errors are obliterated with the flick of a delete or backspace key. I find the whole computer thing magical and I really don’t want to know how it works. I just want it to do what it’s supposed to do.
A laptop computer is the most magical of all. You’re in business anywhere, plugged in or not plugged in. It even warns you when you better plug in or go down the tubes.
Staying connected — and not
Technology has made working from remote locations not only possible but often mandatory. It’s a comforting thing that I can work from anywhere as long as I have a computer and a cell phone or some kind of phone. That has at times — post Hurricane Katrina — been a challenge as I’ve borrowed and scavenged to stay on top of things. A coffee shop on Pass Road in Gulfport that got up and running fairly soon after August 29 and had Internet connectivity was absolutely mobbed with users. People were almost rabid for a hookup, at times getting a tad testy with those who stayed too long.
Finding and using technology was even a challenge during Christmas as I visited in the beautiful Alexandria/Arlington, Va., area and continued to work.
A cell phone interview with a Mississippian spending the holidays in Kentucky and myself in Virginia was made possible by technology. Then my cell phone went kaput for a few days. My hosts (thoroughly modern young people) don’t bother with those old-fangled land telephones and I could hardly commandeer their cell phones for hours on end. So I was left high and dry. It was a strange feeling. I sort of felt adrift and alone in the world.
Still there was e-mail and the Internet. Using someone else’s computer is interesting, too, but I persevered and the world, as we now know it, continued.
And then, more magic. I opened the cell phone, took out the battery and put it back in again. Voila! It fired up and I was back in business.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.