Working in the Information Technology field and liking technology do not always go together. I’ve been employed in IT in various roles since 2002, having previously worked in much more enjoyable but poorer paying jobs. In truth, I never really embraced technology as more than a means to different ends. I would never go back to using a typewriter after my first experience with AppleWorks. When I first experienced the Internet over my dial-up connection, I couldn’t believe I had survived without it. It always seems like I cling to some obsolete, or at least antiquated, method of doing things until I finally cave and adopt a smart-thingy or I-something-or-other.
I wrote long-hand far past the point when I could have been using a computer. I just liked the process of scratching away with a pen, furiously scribbling away my mistakes, and making notes in the margins of my notebooks. I still have some of them, where stories were started and finished on a computer, or they were left unfinished on pages dotted with coffee stains. For a long time, I didn’t have a computer for financial reasons. I could use one at the library where I worked, so sometimes I would stay late after my shift and bang out what I had written in my notebook. Spellcheck was a great convenience, and copying and pasting seemed like miracles, I had to grudgingly admit. I hardly ever start anything on my computer even now, but it’s usually because my writing time is relegated to my lunch breaks at work, where I don’t have access to a computer for personal use. Though my tablet would allow me a very portable way to write digitally, I usually leave it at home where it’s safe and secure.
Smartphones seemed like something dumb for me to have. I resisted owning a cell phone for years, and I finally justified purchasing one in case of emergencies. The salespeople wanted to dazzle me with the features available on the expensive models, and I insisted that I just needed a phone capable of being a phone. I didn’t need a camera because I lived in the city and hardly ever saw anything I needed to capture for later enjoyment. I didn’t understand the need to text instead of calling someone. When eventually I got the chance to get a smart phone, I thought of it as a distraction machine, always beeping at me to check my email, Facebook updates, Twitter feed, whatever. Oh, I can play games, which is great for somebody like me who could technically be labeled as a recovering video game addict.
Now that I’m trying to get a writing career off the ground, I find myself increasingly dependent on all of the things I tried to avoid for years. And I like most of them. I like keeping in touch with people via Facebook that I haven’t physically visited or phoned in decades. It’s probably the reason I haven’t attended any of my high school reunions, now that I live 600 miles away from my alma mater. I like the community of writers I seem to have fallen into on Twitter, many of whom share the same type of aspirations and frustrations that I do and would otherwise never have met me. I’ve practically filled my phone with pictures of my pets and my kid, and I haven’t contemplated buying a camera in years. Mostly, I owe my budding writing career to the Internet and digital publishing, and neither of those things existed when I first dreamed of seeing my stories published.
So Technology, it seems like I owe you a big apology for all of the nasty, curmudgeonly things I’ve said about you over the years. You’re not so bad when you work and when you’re used as a force for good. I appreciate the conveniences you’ve given me and the opportunity to reach out to people all over the world with my writing. I’m sorry. I was wrong. Now my admission will live in the Cloud forever, in case I ever start yelling about you again.
Thanks to all of you for reading this on your computers, phones, tablets, and other things I probably haven’t heard of yet but will grudgingly buy in the next couple of years.