I’m sorry, of course, that Steve Jobs died, though, perhaps unlike many, I can’t say he’s improved my life. Well, maybe some, for I do like going onto Google when in need of a trenchant quote or some such. And Wikipedia can be fun, whether the articles are peer-reviewed or not.
But when it comes to the rest of it, Facebook, texts, tweets, twitters, titters, and the like, you can have it. I remember my son, technologically conversant — as I guess he must be — saying once that I ought to blog and invite feedback. “But I’m not interested in inviting feedback,” I said, “I’m just interested in the sound of my own voice. If I need dialogue, I can make it up. Or, if I feel argumentative, I can create strawmen or strawwomen.”
Interacting with Mary is fun, but I shun elbow-rubbing on the Internet. I am, in that respect, an antisocialist. Were I living in Russia I’d call it the Internyet. I don’t want to be reminded through old-tie connections of my shallow, pimply past, nor by my peers of my sallow, wrinkly present. I’ve moved on, on to bitter things, such as railing against iPads, iPhones, Kindles, and PCs, two of which we drowned this summer. Yet they keep coming back.
I’ve seen in my own family how addictive these things can be, as in this imagined cellphone conversation: “Hi, dear, I’m about ready to yawn . . . . Aaaahhhummm. . . . So, how’s it going with you. . . ? You’re sleepy also. . .? So much time and so little to do. Well, I better cut this short and get back up on the treadmill . . . . I’m stepping up onto it now. Yes, yes it’s moving along at a rapid clip. Can you hear it? No, no, of course I’ll be careful, of course I won’t fall, I . . . Oh shit! . . . !”
Ignore what I said about having so much time and so little to do: One does want to be productive, one wants to improve — it’s the American way — but one also doesn’t like being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century when one has been perfectly happy in the 19th.
Yet it is sobering to recall that in the first third of that century the mother of all computers, they now know, was invented.
I’ve almost done an end-around around technology, though it’s hard to dodge altogether despite my stiff-arming. And, being an American, I am programmed — as I said before — to keep my nose to the grindstone (it’s a very pointy one as a result) and my skills up -to-date lest I fall hopelessly off the pace.
I sense myself slipping back and back into the abyss. . . . Yet somewhere a typewriter clacks and clacks and dings. Somewhere a quill dips into an inkwell and scratches out a line on parchment. Somewhere a musty tome spreads its leaves out upon a lap and is fondly perused. . . Somewhere. . . somewhere. . . some. . . . [Shut Down.]