My 25th college reunion kicks of today. Twenty-five years ago, I used a writing software program called Xywrite in my college's computer center. I didn't have email as I don't think we had access to the internet. Maybe somebody in a super-secret underground lab at the school did.
I remember the first time I went online via AOL's dashboard. It was 1996. I remember looking at AOL's choices to click on: weather, email, games, news, money. And then the last tile of the bunch: the internet. I was completely overwhelmed. I remember thinking, "There is so much to look at on this AOL, that internet will have to wait...plus, I'm a little scared of it. Portals unnerve me."
I think I'm like my mom when it comes to the digital age. She was terrified of all things computer, dare I say electronic, except for the television. I remember she used to grab her Bic pen and say, "This is all the clicking I need to do."
One Christmas, my brother tried to help her out with an Amazon gift card. She was so anxious when it came time to redeem it on the site, he might as well have dropped her in the Amazon. I sat by as she tried to navigate through all the choices to order a book. At the end of the 5-minute ordeal, she was drenched in sweat. "I think that's enough for me," she said.
She was old-fashioned. Born in 1929. Anyone born in the 20s was old-fashioned by my book. My kids will probably say the same thing. "She was born in the 70s...in the previous century. Anyone born in the 70s is old-fashioned by definition."
So my giving up my smartphone for however long I go without it seems to be an inherited trait. I do feel a smack of old-fashioned thinking when I consider why I handed it in back in April. "Why can't we just talk to one another like we used to?"
However, I don't want to be afraid of the future and all that awaits us in a world communicated with and defined by ones and zeroes. That's why I see this time as a cleanse as opposed to a purge. I know smartphones, technology, computers, sub-dermal memory chips are absolutely how we do and will continue to live.
I just want to make sure I remember what I can do without those resources before I jump back into the digital fray.