Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe: It's about time

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

It's about time

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I am the only person I know without an iPhone.  Startling, I know. No instant access to e-mail.  No games, though I’m quick to grab Dr. D.’s iPad for a quick round or two of the latest word game we’re playing. No GPS when I’m not in my car. No way to look up nearby restaurants when I’m out and about or find out what time the store/museum/library opens.

What I do have is exactly what I wanted--a perfectly reliable phone, with a perfectly ok camera, and--the thing I really like--a real keyboard. One that’s not on a screen. One with tiny keys that my fingers hit reliably and with no prompting by a chip that thinks it knows what word I’m typing. To paraphrase one of my poems, I’m fine. Though if you’ve ever heard or read that poem, “Before I Met Him,” you know how that turned out. 

But now I’m at a crossroads. In a few short weeks my not-smarter-than-me phone will be at the two-year mark. It would be a logical time to move up (?) over (?) to the iPhone. But here’s my worry: can I have an iPhone and also an “I”? 

Back in July, 2010 I blogged about trying to wrest control of my time from the devices we didn’t have just a few years ago that now seem to have us.  I wrote about how I am very susceptible to the siren call of the ping, the plink, the little indicator that the outside world wants to make contact with me. Yes? Hello? How will I resist when I have it with me all the time?

What I’m thinking about--what I frequently think about--is my time, how I use it or squander it.  I’m worried I won’t be up to the challenge of protecting it. We talk about “spending” our time and that usage says more than we usually think about. What else do we own? This is the commodity we live with and it’s finite, although, unlike other things we “spend,” we don’t always know when we’re running out. 

Of course it’s not the iPhone’s fault that it’s a time sink. We’re supposedly in control, though there’s evidence to the contrary. Writers usually need no major temptations. When we’re faced with an empty page or a blank screen, plants call out for water loudly enough to pull us away. And having so many temptations in the palm of my hand feels risky. So...should I do it?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found it uncanny this Saturday morning ,to be moved to respond to my first blog. I was enjoying the warmth of my bed listening to the blustery Maine wind outside reading from your book Brightness Falls. I decided to check out your website, with my IPhone, which I keep on my bedside table. I read your first blog about your dilemma whether to succumb to this new technology. I enjoy it's portability, size, and the ability to have a world of information at my fingertips. But, I will agree, many people out there become obsessed, and stop noticing what is going on around them. I look at it as another tool for communication . Good luck in your decision making

November 23, 2013 at 6:19 AM  

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