Electronic dependency

Last weekend our computer died. It wouldn’t even switch on. This caused no small amount of consternation among the kids. Saturday morning is their computer time, when they each get 20 minutes to do whatever they want (yes, we’re cruel parents). The older two have email accounts they simply must check regularly, even if the only email they get is from each other. Having no computer sent their entire world into a tailspin.

Fortunately I have a laptop, so “computer time” was saved. But checking email at will was no longer an option.

I took the dead box to the local repair shop. They determined it was only the power supply that had died, and that the mother board was still intact. Yay! Only $150 to fix instead of $600 and numerous hours of restoring from backups (at least I had them). But the computer wouldn’t be ready until the following Wednesday.

Like most smart businesses, they under promised and over delivered. They had it ready for us on Tuesday. Color returned to the sky, flavor to the food, warmth to the sunshine. Life was good again.

I mock my children (like any good parent), but suppose I’d have been licking the mousepad for my electronic fix if I’d shared their plight. So much of my world exists on the computer these days; my novel, my blog, a large portion of my entertainment. I almost never turn on the television, but if I miss a day of webcomics I get antsy. Quite frankly, much of my online entertainment is probably less beneficial than if I had watched television.

I imagine myself as something of a luddite. I don’t have a smartphone, no iPad, no cable or satellite TV. We don’t even have a video game console. But a computer is one item I have a hard time doing without. I was raised at a time when people still used typewriters, and while I thought they were cool at the time, I look back now and think “no thank you!” I remember having a typing guide sheet I’d roll into the typewriter behind the page I was typing. I remember having to re-type entire pages because of a single mistake. I don’t want to go back to that. Ever.

I met my wife through the computer, after all. Had I been using a typewriter it never would have happened. It’s as simple as that. I make my living from computers. My life wouldn’t be my life without them. And while I suppose I could go without one for three or four days (I’ll have to when we go on vacation), in general I’d rather not. Too much of my life is tied up in these marvelous little boxes.

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