I’ve often thought I’d like to go back in time, back to the ’60s when I was young and my hair grew out of my head this color, when my parents were alive, before I married the Maxhole. Those were fun times. We had the Beatles, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, flower children, Woodstock, and we believed we were going to change the world and make a difference.
But as I worked on that time machine, I realized I just couldn’t give up modern technology. I made it through the pre-technology years just fine, but now that I’ve lived with it, I’m addicted.
I can’t conceive of no e-mail to check in daily with friends around the country. Sure, I used to write and receive a lot of letters, but they took days to arrive. I’m spoiled to instant gratification.
It’s hard to imagine I once lived with no cell phone. I remember making the tough decision of whether to go to the grocery store so I could eat or waiting to see if the cute guy I’d met the night before was going to call. And what if I went out with Guy B and wasn’t home when Guy A called? I’d never know because I had no answering machine either! I also had no caller i.d. so I might answer Guy B’s call and Guy A would get a busy signal because we didn’t have call waiting. Then I might get frustrated because Guy A didn’t call and go out with Guy B instead. Oh, the horrors of living without a cell phone!
The Internet was not even an embryo in the ’60s. If I wanted to research something, I had to go to the library and check out dozens of books then spend hours wading through them to find what I wanted to know. And while I was at the library, Guy A might be trying to call and getting no answer!
The Internet also made it possible for Guy B and Guy C to track me down forty years later and profess their undying love. Okay, not everything about the Internet is great.
But most importantly, we had no computers or word processing software in the ’60s. I’m not sure I could ever have written a book on a typewriter. I wrote a lot of short stories, and each one consumed about a ream of paper. I saw a movie about Ernest Hemingway writing on a typewriter. He’d type a few words, rip out the paper and start again. Been there, done that. Even when I finally got a first draft on paper, it involved lots of words and lines with Xs crossing them out. Then I’d go through the copy with a pencil and make more changes. Type it again, making changes and more changes. Erase or use Liquid Paper to correct typos as I went. Throw away more pages in the process. Revise and retype again. I don’t think I ever got a story perfect; I just got tired of revising and retyping it.
Now we have computers! Backspace and retype. Delete and retype. I don’t have to sit there an hour trying to figure out how to write something perfectly. I can just put it down and change it later. Okay, I still go through my books and revise several times, an average of six or seven, and finally give up when I’m so sick of the whole thing, I can’t stand to go through it again. But I save a lot of paper not to mention the time spent retyping! I used to type 140 wpm, but all that typing and retyping still took a lot of time.
That said, some technology may be a little over the top. Recently the boyfriend and I bought a new oven. I bake a lot for my Death by Chocolate books, so I felt justified in getting a good oven. I picked out one I thought would suffice, but the boyfriend (a computer geek) thought I should have the best. That was very nice of him. In the end we settled on the one I chose since I felt the features he considered important were not necessarily important enough to justify paying twice the price, features such as wifi. Yes, I could access the oven from my cell phone, and he thought I’d really like to do that. Perhaps in forty years that feature will appeal to me. Perhaps then the ovens will also have the technology to stir up chocolate chip cookies and put them in to bake. In the meantime, I think I’ll stick to doing it myself and pass up that bit of technology.