Long ago and far away, after Pong and before Space Invaders, my love/hate affair with technology began. I loved Pong, table tennis at its best: no sweat, and played it on our 21” T.V. screen late into the night and at bars and pizza parlors whenever I found myself there. Pong gave way to PacMan and it was game on. Being highly competitive, I don’t like to repeat some of the things I called my beloved husband or young children during the heat of the moment when their PacMan ate mine.
Then came our Commodore 64, fought over like a favorite pet among my children. We found it glitchy and temperamental, but when it spit out a report or let us play a game, we worshipped it. Hooking it up to a daisywheel printer left us sweating and breathless, but the miracle of a document emerging from its yaw kept us using it for years.
There was something drug-like when I began using some sort of Lotus knockoff software to report various client outcomes at my workplace. I had no idea how it was programmed but I could use the application very successfully to count the number of people getting services between this time and that, whether or not they got a job, or had a kid or went to jail, then report that number to all the grantors who gave me the money to count these people. I could sort and alphabetized and rearrange hundreds of those names, over and over again, every workday and come up with many numbers of successes or failures. I could do this even when I had been up all night playing Space Invaders. Brainless work. Comforting.
But soon the technology was getting ahead of me. Here is an example of that happening with my first video camera. This huge camera perched on my shoulder during every kid’s athletic event, during every holiday dinner, during birthday parties and cocktail parties and all sorts of other occasions. And we even played that stuff back sometimes, popping the VCR tape into the T.V. and looking at ourselves retrospectively. In a generous moment, I brought the camera to work and filmed all kinds of frivolities during a staff potluck. At the end of the lunch I popped the tape into a T.V. in the conference room and we all began to watch ourselves eat. Potluck, redux.
But in the middle of watching it, the scene suddenly changed. Up on the screen was me and my husband, having returned from a dinner date, drunk and sentimental, telling each other, for the camera, how much we loved each other, how devastatingly attractive we both were, and giving each other groping, sloppy kisses. God. My co-workers blocked my way to yank the tape out of the slot, and laughed all the way through this wretched scene. I never lived it down.
Later, those same tapes somehow got taped over by half-recorded movies and high school basketball games. And after the kids left for college, we continued to call them almost weekly for about 15 years, ostensibly to find out how they were but really to: a) figure out how to set up a recording or b) figure out how to play one. Those tapes are out there still somewhere in the garage, waiting for some devastatingly attractive person to convert them to DVDs. Or to melt in the heat of summer. I’m voting for the latter.
Well, I can tell you all, I have come a long way from Pong. TechWorld is now my personal oyster. I get it. I can do it myself! Because I am in…
The iUniverse. I have boarded that train, sailed that ship, docked in that harbor. I have an iEverything. I am iFull. My iPhone has a million apps for each age group, starting with my youngest grandchild. I have a timer and a calculator and Mobile Weight Watchers and Mobile FaceBook and Mobile email. All the Mobiles do all my walking.
And by some cyber-miracle, all these apps also appear on my iPad. I can look up anything, as long as I am willing to bear with the cookies in the iCloud. These cookies then tell some advertiser somewhere what I like, even if I don’t like it.
I never have to have another unfilled second of reflection or boredom or even do a single task at a time. I can text and drive. I can play pinocle and watch Masterpiece Mystery Theatre. I can talk on the phone and play solitaire on myiPad while listening to a iPod podcast. I can order the bacon, have it delivered, fry it up according to an Epicurious recipe and cure the indigestion it causes through a home remedy found on Google.
All this without leaving the easy chair in my spare room. Brilliant!! Now, if I could just get my iWhatever to exercise for me…