Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't Be Scared - It is Only Technology

When I was growing up, we had to stand up, walk to the television and turn a dial to change the channel.  We only had 4 good channels.  There were still rotary phones that were of course, stationary.  In order for me to have a private conversation with a friend, I used the wall mounted phone with the very, very long cord.  I could travel out of the kitchen and into the dining room to sit and chat.  Cable channels became the norm about seventh or eighth grade.  MTV was introduced to the world my senior year of high school.  Video did indeed kill the radio star.  I witnessed it's death.  I managed to write every term paper for all four years of college on a typewriter, using white-out to correct my mistakes.  I was a terrible typist.  My papers were messy.  I did not twirl with excitement when personal computers started to show up in the office.  Let's say my attentions were on other things - things more male that played in bands.  I was a receptionist around 1989, for an engineering firm.  I arrived to work one morning, and my typewriter was gone.  In it's place was a large white box with a small monitor beside it.  I was told that this was a word processor.  My heart sank.  I was going to have to actually learn how to use it.  This thing mocked me daily.  In fact, it bullied me.  I was scared of it.  It sat there and said, "Jennifer, when you are comfortable at your desk, with your coffee and bagel, and you least expect it, I will get you!" Then it growled and evil growl.  As fate would have it, the guy who removed my typewriter and replaced it with 'Satan In A Box' dropped by to chat with me one morning.  This poor fellow, Dean, was a bit sweet on me.  He was the stereotype of  the electrical engineering nerd and I was a recovering Goth child. I guess he found me exotic.  It never would have worked out. He leaned over on my desk and said; "so, how you doing with it?" and nods towards the big bully that I had taped a photo of the latest band I loved on to.  I told him I had never turned it on, it was against my religion.  He thought I was joking.  Actually, I did not know how to turn it own.  He came around and pushed a couple buttons and the box hummed, spit and was glowing blue.  I was scared.  He told me to make up a password.  Seriously?  Okay - 'Bauhaus7'.  Dean thought is was because I was into architecture that I picked the name Bauhaus.  Poor Dean.  Turns out that nerdy Dean was a good teacher though, and once I overcame my objections and opened my mind a little, I learned how to do all those things that a word processor does.  As the years progressed and technology evolved, I evolved with it, to a point.  I am not a computer whiz, but I know how to use Word, Excel and do more important things, like navigate the internet and get on Facebook.  So, now I live, in a world filled with blogs, real time news, tweets and such, AND I can secretly stalk old boyfriends through social media, which is a long, long way from that word processor I was so scared of all those years ago. 

My son, who turns five next month, can work his way around the PS3 (I was pretty good at Pong) and plays every Star Wars game on my PC. It comes natural to these kids now. It makes me wonder what is next? We can already start our cars remotely from our I-Phones, compose and publish music from our laptops.  I just read that computer experts have examined a worm called Stuxnet, that  was created by Israel or the United States as part of a covert effort to hamper Iran's alleged drive for an atomic weapon. Wow.   When Dominick is 47 years old, what reflections will he have on his youth with regards to technology?  In the year 2053, when Dominick will be my current age, what technological feats will we have gained?  I cannot imagine anything more glorious than what we have now, but then, I can see bigger, better - and bigger and darker.  Fortunately, I dream in  technicolor, not  technologically, so I cannot predict.  I will be 90 years old, and will just want some soft food, but I hope that whatever wonders await, Dominick will embrace them as they come, use them for good, and will never see technology as a big, ol' mean bully! 
Love to all - Jenn XOXO

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