Bob Cratchit, Luddites and the dark side of technology
People like to make fun of my lack of electronic technological savvy. I am routinely invited to join the 21st century (that’s the century we’re in right?). Heck, I make fun of myself. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a luddite. Webster’s dictionary definition of luddite is “ …one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest.” The current usage describes “ … one who is opposed to change, especially technological change.” It all stems from Ned Ludd, an 18th century Leicestershire workman who destroyed a knitting frame. Rock on Ned. I wouldn’t say I’m opposed to technological change; I’m just waiting for the technology to catch up with me. To me, technology is a tool. If I need it, I will learn how to use it.
I still have a VCR (for taping Coronation Street – yes, I know, PVR – I’m getting there) and I just got my first ipod (which I call my jpod). I’m on facebook, but I’m still at the who-are-all-these-people-and-why-are-they-telling-me-they-don’t-like-cauliflower? stage.
Everything I’ve learnt about Google chat, Google video chat, blogs, websites, and You Tube I’ve learnt from my 11 year old niece. In her words “twitter is for celebrities, facebook is for cool Canadians and math.com is for nerds.” I did however teach myself to upload digital pictures and download podcasts. And I am quickly becoming the Empress of the embedded link.
But I recently had an incident where I thought – I’m there, I’ve crossed over to the technological dark side.
I ran into the president of our community association Caroline, at a conference, and ended up sitting beside her in some of the sessions. Caroline had this notebook that was like a giant accounting ledger, you know the one with the pages embossed with little squares. This is our conversation as I saw her flipping it open from time to time and writing in it:
Me: Did you have to time travel back to Ebenezer Scrooge’s office and snag that ledger off of Bob Cratchit’s desk?
Caroline: (half-hearted guffaw) No, I just bought it in a stationary store, you can get them anywhere.
Me: What do you use it for?
Caroline: (flips open the ledger) I use it for everything. To take notes, make lists, rant and rave (she shows me one of the rants), I stick in pictures, recipes, poems, quotes and newspaper articles. (She keeps flipping) I write down books and movies I want to see. I write my ideas, dreams of things I want to do in life. It has everything…
Me: (interrupting her) So it’s kinda like a blog!? Like a blog but on paper.
Caroline: Yeah, kinda like a blog.
At that moment I knew there was no going back for me. Time to trade in my Sony Walkman for the 21st century. Where do I buy a flying car?