EDITOR'S NOTE: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, is beginning a new blog called Food For Thought. It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.
I have to confess right now, before I start writing about electronics and how they stress me out, that I am technologically challenged. I don't think it's an age thing or an intelligence thing; I think I'm just old school. I like to write, and turn pages, and look at a clock every now and then. As a writer, I tend to get carried away in my work sometimes, and when a bell or buzzer or alarm sounds, I typically jump out of my skin.
Take my morning routine, for example. I set my alarm clock for 6:30 a.m. back in, oh, I'd say 2008. I have never touched the alarm setting on that clock again, because I'd have to break out the user's manual again to do so. So when my alarm goes off at 7 a.m., or at 5 a.m., or even at 6:30 p.m., I get frustrated. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking the same thing my husband says: "Well you must have changed it by accident." I suppose that's possible, but in my mind, that would be the equivalent of a 5-year-old building a space shuttle by accident. Possible, but not likely.
I'm not exaggerating. Here's another example. I have a smart phone -- not because I wanted one, but because my husband thought I needed one. He thought having one would make me more efficient and make my daily life easier. I can receive emails on this phone. I can text, place phone calls, keep a calendar, shoot photos, surf the Internet and even read newspapers and books on this phone. I can tweet and post and LOL on this phone. I hate it.
It's too much. My work follows me with my phone. It is constantly beeping, ringing, chirping, blinking and vibrating. And just when I think I have each tone and what it signals figured out, one of my kids will change the tones just for laughs. Every time my phone makes a sound, I feel the urge to pick it up, look at it and see who needs what. I was already a bit ADD; now, it's really bad.
I suppose we have what you could call a smart house, as well. Our security system talks to me throughout the day. It warns me that I've left a door or window open. It warns me when I open a door with the alarm still set -- "you have 15 seconds until I call the authorities." My washer, dryer, stove, oven and coffee pot alert me throughout the day that they need my immediate attention. In fact, not even a week ago, my coffee pot ground and brewed a pot of coffee -- at 4:00 in the afternoon. I never told it to do that, but of course I am sure that somehow I did. It's exhausting to live in an electronics-driven world -- in a "smart world" -- when electronics aren't your thing.
Now I get that the problem is me. My husband loves electronics. He always has the latest technology, no matter the device. He figures out how to use it right away. And children absolutely amaze me. My children always roll their eyes and say, "Oh here Mom, give it to me," whenever I can't get something to work right. I can't play a DVD on my own television. I'm excited when I can change the channel by myself.
I saw a 2-year-old at the mall not long ago with her own iPhone. She was playing a game on it. Really?
As I said, I'm old school. When push comes to shove, I will actually get up off the sofa and push a button on the TV to change the channel or turn it on or off. That amazes my kids. I don't think they knew you could do that. I use a paper calendar, you know the kind you hang on a wall and write notes all over? I like to turn pages in a book, smell the paper, use a bookmark to mark my place.
I will say, though, that I am learning. A friend pointed out to me recently that it's kind of ironic that an electronics-shy writer writes everything on a computer, uses social media sites, texts and blogs. I guess I can't be that inept, can I? Necessity is the mother of, well, giving in.
Does the use of computers, smart phones and other devices make your life easier or more complicated? Share your input and stories with other readers.
Carole Townsend is a freelance writer and a 25-year resident of Gwinnett County. As a mom, a wife, a former corporate executive, stay-at-home mom and correspondent for the Daily Post, she brings a unique perspective to life and living it in Gwinnett. "Food for Thought" gives Gwinnettians a forum where they can share perspectives, opinions, advice and solutions, as well as enjoy a few chuckles.