I have had a tendency to be attracted to techno-geeks in my life (I mean that in the most affectionate sense), which is ironic because I have spent most of my life as a resister of technology. With the exception of the cell phone, I spent my twenties annoyed with my computers, unable (unwilling) to fix anything electronic that might have been broken. And let me tell you the story about when my ex-boyfriend got me (himself) one of the first MP3 players for my birthday. I watched him fiddle with it and load the twenty or so songs by his favorite artists it could hold and thought, 'Yeah... not so healthy.'
It's been a slow evolution, but in my late twenties and now early thirties I have begun to change. Again,the irony is that I started to embrace technology after I quit working at one of the biggest technology companies in the world. Maybe it's because technology makes my life as a teacher so much better (my previous school didn't have overhead projectors in every classroom, and it was enough to send me into nervous-breakdown status most days), or maybe it's because we've come a really, really long way since my first computer, a PowerMacintosh 8200. Either way, I think it will be cool to tell my children stories about how, back in the olden days, Mommy stored her college essays on a floppy disk.
Yet, while I've begun to embrace technology, I have remained the cheap bastard I've always been. This poses quite the dilemma, and one of the many results of this has been that for the last year and a half I have had a super-ultra-way-cool Blackberry phone that did not have internet service because I didn't want to pay for it. Why get a Blackberry if you're not going to use it for email, L would constantly ask? I can't answer that question. I can only tell you that I don't know how the people at AT&T sleep at night.
This week my contract was up, and I finally caved. I decided I wanted an iPhone. I have played with them and secretly coveted one for some time now, and when I called about the service it turned out that I could get unlimited data and more daytime minutes for less than what I've been paying per month on my Blackberry. And because L is a techno-geek and lover of gift-giving (the difference being gifts that I actually want), he bought me the best one Apple makes.
The iPhone isn't a cool as I thought it would be-- it's cooler. I don't just like it. I love it. I have spent the last three days loading cool apps, fiddling with my calendar, looking at Facebook updates ('Look-- it's doppelganger week!') and other colossal wastes of time. Last night I said to myself, 'I don't know how I possibly went so long without one of these things!'
Which has brought me full circle. A woman in her thirties embraces technology, sure, but at what cost? What happened to the self-righteous woman in my twenties I was, the one who saw people spend hours at the technology store and think 'Jeez, get outside for awhile, will you?' I like Wikipedia as much as the next woman in her thirties, but do I really need it at my fingertips every moment of every day? At what point did my wants become my needs?
One of my focuses for this coming semester with my Seniors is the question, 'At what point does technology go too far?' It doesn't help that I will spend the next few months reading and discussing books that tackle that very question, most of which imply that we have already passed the point of no return when it comes to technology. I guess the question I'm wrestling with is whether or not the positives of technological advancement outweigh the negatives.
Maybe my students, people who have never known a world without cell phones, will shed some light for this woman in her thirties. In the meantime, I'll be searching for an app for that.