Wednesday, October 19, 2005
How to get the better of modern technology
Just yesterday evening, Sanju and I were chatting about the vagaries of modern technology. (Sanju is the son of good friends, with whom I used to occasionally work in the past.) He'd wanted to hang out for a while and in the hour or so that we were together, we covered a whole lot of ground from music to relationships, to computers. Sanj sounded morose about his laptop which had conked out and been gone for repairs for a while. Confessed how lost he was feeling without it etc etc. Well there I was sitting back grandly and holding forth on the need for us to learn how to write once again – you know, write as in hold a pen in your hand and move it across a sheet of paper and what would happen if the entire system, dependent on modern technology collapsed and so on and so forth.
This morning it happened. The system collapsed. Not the world over, but my computer refused to boot and for me, the comp is my world! The laptop too, refused to connect and there I was biting my fingernails and inwardly jumping around in frenzy though outwardly pretty calm. The IT specialist in the office was tied up with someone else and I couldn’t get through to him for quite a while, (to ask if there was anything I could do, any keys I could tap or some part of the machine I could kick or thump or spit on to get it back in shape.)
Finally I got through to the bloke in the office. I switched on the computer while he was talking to me on the phone, so he could guide me through a labyrinth of complicated steps and guess what. The old comp booted perfectly, the screen appeared the way it always did, the desktop was in place and I felt … I felt, well, just a wee bit foolish to say the least.
This is the effect that technology finally has on me, I realised. It makes me feel a bit silly at the end of the day. Sometimes I can imagine what a person must experience who is totally dependent for example, on alcohol. Or cigarettes. Or a particular individual. (Hey, calling all you hopeless addicts out there!) Your inner system seems to undergo a tiny breakdown when that cigarette or shot of whisky (or person) is out of reach. You feel like tearing out your hair, jumping up and down and babbling a lot of oaths at everybody and nobody in particular.
Well, at least I became super conscious (for the umpteenth time) this morning, of my dependency on the computer and this time round I am definitely going to do something about it. I am going to fill up that fountain pen I bought in Germany fifteen years ago, which I used with such joy till about the time the keyboard took over completely. Then I will go and get me a sheet of fine white paper. And write one hundred times on it: I WILL STOP BEING DEPENDENT ON THIS SHIT TECHNOLOGY.
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