Monday, August 13, 2012

Technological Entanglements

This is sort of embarrassing to say as a “writer”, but I didn’t own a laptop until last week.  I know most people over the age of twelve have one already, but I’m slow to warm up to advancements in technology.  I try new flavors of M&Ms the minute they hit the shelves, but that’s because I’m comfortable with chocolate.  Computers, phones, and Blu-Ray players baffle me.

I have to take this opportunity to mention that we owned a Blu-Ray player for almost six months before I realized it.  I was actually at a Redbox renting a movie for the kids and I said, “Oh, they only have this one on Blu-Ray.  We’ll have to pick something else out.”  Brainy looked at me sympathetically (because I’m mentally handicapped and he’s kind) and said, “Mom, we have one of those.  The white Sony player downstairs.”  Oh.

Anyway, my career is looking more promising, so my husband bought me an Ultrabook.  I would tell you that’s another word for a laptop, but I’d get in trouble.

I’ve been really busy lately, so it wasn’t until today that I had a chance to take it for a spin.  (Just kidding, honey, I handled it more carefully than I did our children as newborns.)  And, well, things didn’t go so smoothly.  I had the whole thing locked up inside of twenty minutes and I was probably crying out of frustration after ten.

First of all, I’m not very adept at avoiding an invisible mouse that’s playing possum underneath my wrists.  And I’m just typing along, crafting beautiful prose and whatnot and then the bottom falls out and suddenly my fonts change, or my margins, or I’m knee deep in a find and replace edit that I never even started!  Sometimes my paragraphs would go rogue and set themselves up like poetry stanzas.  For every three words I typed, I was hitting the undo button or backspace ten times.

And it isn’t just the mouse that’s sensitive.  The keys are too.  I was trying to think of the appropriate adjective for a thought I was trying to convey, and I left my fingers hovering over the keys for a moment while I looked up and pondered.  When I conjured the word I was looking for and returned to my document, there was half a page of Ls.  And don’t even think about breathing too hard near the caps lock button.  Or CapsLk as he goes by in Ultra circles.

So, I got this great gift and I can’t use it.  Not effectively.  Once The Voice of Reason unlocked my keyboard, I started typing this blog.  That was four score and a fortnight ago.  I’m hoping practice will make possible – perfect being too far of a reach at this point.  I had a similar learning curve with my smart phone when I got it for Christmas.  I still don’t take advantage of most of its features, but I’ve learned to use the ones I need, like checking the weather and quicktexts and getting gmail updates.

The plan was to use this contraption to blog, do my writing assignments, and create amazing works of fiction on the go.  You know, like writing the next New York Times bestseller on the sidelines of football practice or in carpool, obvious places for great ideas and inspiration.  But none of that is going to be possible if I don’t conquer this mouse pad.

My mother-in-law was asking me tonight if there was something she could get me for my birthday to go along with my new Ultrabook.  Why yes, some patience and an IT specialist to travel around with would be lovely.

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