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Trying to connect with the 21st century

computerRemember the Luddites?

I must be one of them because I’m surely the last person in America above the age of 10 who doesn’t have a smart phone. Well, that’s not exactly true. I have one of those phones but it’s still in the box it came in two months ago.

You see, I’m afraid of it — as I am most technology. I have to circle around it and back up to it and sort of warm up to it. If I ever make its acquaintance, I will probably adore this phone that will do most everything except burp me, just as I quickly saw the advantages of computers over typewriters.

My journalism career began with a manual Royal typewriter. There are people alive today who have no idea what I’m talking about.

It was a contrary machine and unforgiving of errors. Hit a wrong key and there was no such thing as a stroke of the back space or delete key to correct the mistake. No lightweight, it took strength to mash the keys hard enough to make them strike the paper and form words.

The next step up the ladder of mechanized evolution was an electric typewriter. It didn’t require banging with all your might, but there was still that thing about erasing errors. And then of course they came along with that white erasure tape and that white paint stuff (an editor I know called it “idiot ink”).

I knew I was out of step with the times when I went to work for a large state agency to edit an employee newsletter and asked for a typewriter.

My supervisor and his boss looked at each other and laughed.

Thus was my introduction to a PC and it has been a love affair of woman and technology. How did I manage without it? Fast forward 20 years and we’re practically inseparable. I even made the transition from a PC to a Mac one year ago, and, while not anywhere near proficient on it, I have survived to tell the tale.

Just to be perfectly clear: I do not do that goofy Facebook and twitter stuff. Why do people waste all that time?

I can not imagine that the world is a better place because one person can post that he/she ordered pizza tonight to all his/her so-called friends. And surely, surely, surely, we were not meant to read books on electronic devices. If you hover over a screen all day at work, why on earth would you want to spend your evenings doing the same thing? The “feel” of a real book is a warm, friendly thing.

So now into my ordered life rides this smart phone, which my children and friends say I need.

Is that so I can slaughter the English language by texting? They tell me you just can’t take the time to spell out words and use punctuation. Maybe that’s a clue as to why many young people can not write a proper sentence.

These phones can do miraculous things and they can be equipped with things called apps (I suppose that means applications; then why don’t they just say applications?) that can connect you to anything, anywhere at any time.

I can only ask why?

Do we no longer have any need for down time? Must we be tethered to technology every waking minute? I see people having dinner in restaurants and — heaven forbid they engage in conversation — they’re madly fingering their smart phones.

I guess texting acquaintances that you just ordered a steak is the most pressing matter on the planet.

Oh yes, yes, it is the 21st century and I suppose I must be dragged kicking and screaming into it when all I want to do with a telephone is make calls and receive calls. In my world, games are played on boards, books are read from real books, and conversation is between people — not machines. Stay tuned; I’m sure I will make some hapless soul’s day at the phone store when I sally forth to get connected with this wonder of wonders.

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About Lynn Lofton

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