Monday, March 4, 2013

Low-tech yearnings in a high-tech world

My antique Underwood No. 5 typewriter (circa 1900-1920)

 "It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."

My apologies to children's author Judith Viorst.

Like Alexander, the little boy in Viorst's picture book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," I've had a less than stellar day.

It's not that anything terrible or horrible happened. It's just that several little things that could go wrong did. And together, all those little things added up to a hard day.

Mostly, today was about me and technology not seeing eye to eye.

The day started out promising. I read to third-graders at Marshall Elementary this morning as part of "Read Across America Week." I'd brought two gloriously illustrated books about ancient Egypt to share with the class and my teacher-librarian friend, Kay Ellison. We had an excellent discussion about the Egyptians. Kay took some photos of the kids and me. I planned to post the photos on my "schools" Facebook page. And then I'd tweet the Facebook link with the cute photo.

Wrong! No matter what I tried, I could not post today's school photos onto Facebook. I post photos to Facebook often without difficulty. Not today, apparently.

Tomorrow I will ask SueVo, a journalist friend and techno-goddess, for guidance.

Once home from work, I did manage to complete some tasks that required some degree of technology. For dinner I microwaved the excellent mushroom prosciutto tortellini soup I'd made from scratch yesterday. I washed a load of clothes with no problems whatsoever with my modern washer and dryer instead of resorting to my antique scrub board I display in my laundry room. I made amazing pumpkin spice muffins with dried cranberries and mini chocolate chips--and baked them to perfection in my modern 1970s electric range.

That gave me confidence to try uploading the photo again. I sat down at my laptop and attempted to upload the cute photo of third-graders to Facebook. No deal.

Then I was instant messaging a friend on Facebook, and she asked me to email her the order form for my dragon boat team's spring plant sale fundraiser. I have used my scanner successfully hundreds of times. Tonight, my scanner refused to scan. I'll try again tomorrow.

Even as I've been writing this blog post on my laptop, a message flashed across the screen: Error! Cannot save! For Pete's sake!

Sometimes I feel as if I'd fit in better in the 1920s than I do today. One of my favorite book series features protagonist Maisie Dobbs, intrepid, spunky, gutsy solver of crimes--in 1930s London. My 1940s apartment is filled with antique furniture, appliances, artwork, books, record albums and photos. I even own an antique hat collection.

I do own a laptop computer and a Smart phone, but the only tablet I own is yellow and is lined for writing in cursive. Does anyone out there use cursive anymore?

Thanks to a journalism friend, I also own a vintage Underwood No. 5 standard typewriter, the workhorse used in newsrooms and modern offices from 1900 to 1920. If only I could find a new ribbon for it, I'd be in business.

Unlike Alexander in the children's book, I am not planning on moving to Australia, at least not anytime soon.I'm charging both my laptop and my iPhone as I write this. Tomorrow, I will download those photos. Tomorrow I'll climb back on the horse and will tweet, make Facebook posts, download photos from my phone and even get the darned scanner to work.

For now I've climbed into bed with a mug of hot cocoa, pulled my favorite purple fuzzy socks onto my freezing feet and have reached for a favorite old book--not an e-book on an e-reader--but an actual book.

Perhaps tonight I'll dream I'm Maisie Dobbs in the 1930s, wearing a chic cloche hat and solving a mystery.

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