Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Ah, Technology






I'm in the generation that straddles techo-life.  I want to say "I remember when..."  but that does sound so very old.  Okay, I remember when you stayed home to wait for a phone call, stood up to change channels,  went to the neighbors' because they had a color TV, Smith-Corona typewriters with the carriage return, carbon paper for duplicates, teachers handed out mimeos they'd cranked out that smelled of fresh ink, libraries had microfilm, people wrote and mailed letters to communicate.  For my 5th grade "invention," I wrote about a device that you could talk in to and it would type out your words -- Mr. Shannon liked it, but said such a thing would never exist.  In college, I thought word processing was awesome (until the computer crashed with your paper on it), in med school I got an answering machine, and no, I don't remember my first remote control.  I do remember my first experience with e-mail, I asked Clink to show me, and the only person on her address list I knew was a mutual friend across the country-- I sent him an email and he wrote back to say that he and his wife and two children would be visiting and could they stay at my place for a week?  That was enough email for me for a while, but I did enjoy his visit (and his wife, and his kids...).  And Clink has spent 20 years telling people that I thought the dial-up site I used to look at houses --( after all,  if people were going to come visit like this, we needed a bigger place) -- was much too slow and the Internet would never catch on. 

I often wonder how, as a somewhat extroverted, easily distracted person, if life would have been much different for me if there had been cell phones and texting and Facebook back when I was a teenager.  Would I have had a broader social life, would I have ever been able to study?  Would I have had more fun?  Would I have ever been able to do the work I needed to do to get into medical school with so many other distractions available?  Would I have had a blog back then?