Sunday, January 30, 2011

Missing newspaper

My newspaper was not in my driveway this morning.  And I was surprised by how much that bothered me.  My Sunday morning routine was disrupted.  My comfortable world tilted. 

It's not like I don't have other sources of news.  In fact, the newspaper is getting to be an anachronism in a digital world.  The news is available - and more current - on-line.  And I can get on-line either by booting up my computer or by browsing on my smart phone.

So if not the news, what was I missing?   Well, I read when I eat.  Always have.  Probably always will.  But without the newspaper to entertain me, I read an interesting article on lynx preservation efforts in Montana in the Smithsonian magazine. 

So I wasn't missing the news or going without something to read.  So what?

I think part of what I missed was the tradition.  And part was familiarity and ease.  I know where I can find the Clay Thompson column, Montini, Roberts, the weather, the lottery numbers.  And since it was Sunday, I knew I would find Brand's column and the pet of the week in the Living section.  The color comics are have always been a Sunday favorite. All of this in one handy package that lays flat on my table for easy reading with my morning bagel.

I've considered a Kindle with a newspaper subscription.  But I don't think reading the paper on a Kindle will feel the same.

Traditionalist?  Or Luddite?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Technology sneaks up on you.

Despite working in the tech industry, around guys to whom early adoption is a calling, I do not feel the urge to embrace every new tech trend.

I need a reason to change.  For example, I only bought my first microwave because the choice at the time was microwave or stove and a microwave was supposed to be more versatile.  Now, my stove is more like a counter top that occasionally heats up, while my microwave gets daily use.

My first cell phone became a necessity when my car was having mechanical problems and I didn't want to be stranded.  All it did was make phone calls.  I saw no need for it to be anything else.  I don't make phone calls anyway. I use about 20 minutes a month on average.

About a year ago, I finally jumped on the smart phone wagon.  I liked the idea of the Android operating system.  I had become enamored of Twitter and Facebook.  I thought it would be nice to be able to keep up with e-mail and social networking  without having to boot up my computer. (I keep the computer turned off in an attempt to be more green.). 

It turns out that I use my phone every day.  I check Twitter, Facebook, Google mail.  I keep notes for my journal.  I check the time.  I set the alarm.  I have games to keep me from going stir crazy in lines or waiting rooms.  I frequently text Google to get definitions of words in books I am reading.  I still don't use it to make phone calls.

Then my phone broke.  I could receive calls, read e-mail, but do nothing else.  I was phone deprived for a mere week and I was bereft. 

Seriously.  There are other ways to do all these things. I can boot up my computer to update my journal, check Twitter, Facebook, and gmail.  I have actual alarm clocks and stove timers.  I even have a Palm Zire I can play games on. The only thing I didn't have was a texting replacement, nor did I look for one.

But I found myself several times a day reaching for my phone before realizing it wouldn't do what I required.

So it was a relief to see that welcome white box on my doorstep yesterday with my replacement phone.  I spent a couple hours getting the new one set up to my liking.

Mental calm has been restored.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Confidence - where do I get some?

I pulled up to the mailbox today and a teenage boy was walking past.  I had barely started to smile when he waved and said Hi.

Where does the confidence to talk to a stranger come from?  Here is a teen that was friendly without hesitation.  I, definitely not a teen, had to think before I smiled at him.  Not that he was scary looking.  No, it's just that my first instinct is to try to be invisible, unnoticed.

So is confidence inborn or learned? 

I have always been shy.  It is difficult for me even now to make the first overture to a stranger.  I smile at everyone, but verbal interaction is a conscious struggle. 

I knew a ten year old girl who had no qualms about approaching a stranger to ask directions or a question.  I spent my youth head down, hiding behind my long hair, convinced that if I didn't look up, no one would notice me. 

Neighborhood kids come to my door to sell their school products.  Some are eloquent, personable, consummate sales people.  Others mumble, hide behind their parents, or silently thrust their sale booklets at me.

I know I am smart, funny, likable.  But I am envious of those who face the world eyes up, hand shake ready.