Balancing Change



My patient daughter’s voice betrays irritation as she, once again, goes over the reason why I can’t get Netflix downloads on my TV. I try, but all this new technology doesn’t stick. I may be able to remember all the characters’ names in old books and who played them in old movies but I can’t always remember how to import music to my ITunes library.


        When Alice was in Wonderland, she said, “I’m running as fast as I can just to stay in place”. I sometimes feel as though I’m on the same slow treadmill as poor Alice when it comes to the technology,

I’m OK in the kitchen. Crockpots, microwaves and coffee pots are all my kissing cousins. But I’m just barely on speaking terms with some of the other devices that are supposed to be my helpers.

Technology issues abound! I can’t use my use my cell phone at home because I live in a gully but I do use it when I’m out. But I can’t get messages or redial. Nor can I automatically enter phone numbers. I don’t even dream of getting a new one with a GPS. I know change is good for me but I’m clearly resisting the 21st Century.

Compared to my contemporaries, I’m  pretty adept for someone who graduated in 1956 with a ba in art education. Like most professional writers, I bought a personal computer as quickly as they came into my price range. The year was 1982 and the machine was a Kaypro.

I can be an early but I have no real interest until I see how they are useful to me. My excuse is that those computer people can’t write intelligibly. Even when I am ready to take on some new machine, I have to wait until a real person can teach me. I certainly can’t read directions on the boxes or talk over the phone to technicians who were born yesterday!

If my daughter loses her patience entirely, I’ll be just like  poor Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire. I’ll just have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

Yes I do know that change is good. I don’t avoid change. I had a good year for change in 2011. I spent a lot of time teaching myself all about opera. I also spent a lot of the time in the gym. I entered the world of social media with Facebook and LnkedIn. I started this blog. I give myself a pretty high grade for embracing change.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I want to learn anything else. So many people seem to be compulsively locked into their personal machinery. When I was in the gym recently, walking in the warm water pool, there was an older man walking up and down while he read something on his Kindle. The gadget wasn’t waterproof so he held it up and walked carefully.

One young man I know brings his IPad wherever he goes and often refers to it while attempting to carry on a conversation. He needs to learn that machines are tools, not best friends or lovers. Everyone needs to be aware of balance in every area of our lives – even technology.

Corporations ae not people and neither are machines. They don’t expect or need love. I sort of loved my first computer. It was a Kaypro and it weighed more than most people can imagine today. I needed help getting it into the trunk of the car. I once took a train trip with it and had to hire a porter. That was then. This is now. Today’s computers weigh less than my coffee pot.

Despite its weight problem, I loved that Kaypro because it made me a better and faster writer. I could move the cursor when I needed to move a paragraph or delete a sentence instead of retyping the whole chapter.

My attachment to computers has remained steady but the thrill has gone. I didn’t rush into the myriad technological gadgets that were created later. Fax machines were pretty much obsolete before I learned to use them. I still use a landline telephone because I live in a gully. I hate watching movies or reading books on a small computer screen. I have absolutely no interest in reading books on a cell phone.

Truth is, I am not even running fast enough to keep up. I’ve taken to perusing the technology section of the NY Times on most days. I have a computer subscription.

This year, my visioning list includes becoming more technological. However, I plan to create a new balance, not a new addiction. I will be more accepting of personal technology but I doubt I’ll ever get beyond thinking of function first.

I don’t envision reading Shakespeare on my wrist watch. I can’t imagine giving up the comfort and joy of sitting in my recliner and holding a good book in one hand while I drink coffee with the other. I can’t imagine naming my computer Samantha or Charlie.

It is true that I need to adjust my balance a bit. On the other hand, I’m not so far behind the times. I do know enough not to drink coffee around Cleopatra’s keyboard.


Ask yourself

 Do I have an issue with technology?

Is there anything I want to change about how I handle change?


4 Comments on “Balancing Change”

  1. Lily Sabuni says:

    Hi Dr. Jane,

    Ditto on everything you said in your piece about technology. I, finally, got a smartphone so I don’t have to listen to my grandson tell me I’m still using a dumbphone; the truth of the matter is, like you, I do not have cell signal where I live either. I rely on the wifi for other conveniences that the phone offers.

    I’ve been changing back to some old technologies. I now have a corded landline everywhere I have a cordless phone; I have a battery and hand crank portable radio; there is also a perculator for coffee, etc, etc…these came in very handy during our windstorm (7 days without electricity)!

    So, change is neither good or bad…it’s just change.

  2. Dr. Jane,
    Hello! Thanks for giving Jeanette the message that I was trying to reach her. You are both such inspirations to me, and you are the best teacher I ever had.

    I loved your tech comments, and relate completely! The biggest problem with the tech toys is that they isolate and create a very non-human life in which the tech person is unable to hear/listen/react to anyone around them, including their own children. I’ve seen so many young children vying for a parent’s attention while the parent is completely absorbed on the tech toy. Also, children are being shown, by example, that the “normal” thing is to be on the computer. I don’t like school classes being held with each student on a computer and no group discussion. Yikes! These children have no idea what to do when they have free time. There is no time for imagination, reading a real book, playing/inventing games with siblings. They are really limited in their relationships and they’re going way to fast. There is no quiet time, no family dinners and no quality time with parents. Everyone is running, stressed out with the only important thing reaching the next pit stop.

    Today is Jeanette’s 69th birthday as you probably know.

    Thanks for your blog!



  3. Jane Pool says:

    Amen! Like you I use and enjoy technology to do the things I want to do but I balk at using it for a lot of nonsensical things in which I have no interest just to prove that I am not too technology challenged to do it.

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