Who needs to be first at everything?

I have an iPhone. Pause for wild applause. I knew you would be impressed. I have yet to take it out of the house, but yes, I have one. It does email. So I am told.

It’s lying there like a small black coffin as I wonder if I will ever get the hang of it. It’s so clever, so many symbols and words I don’t understand. Oh I wish one of my grandchildren would arrive.

The one I have just discarded, a steam driven Motorola, I never got the hang of that either. I put in the odd £20 and usually had £19.48 left after a year. I rarely gave people my number. Why would I want people to ring me? I don’t want to be bothered. There are probably urgent, exciting voice messages that will lie there, unheard, for ever.

Twenty years ago when I got my Amstrad PCW 9512, I had sleepless nights, convinced I was stupid. I persuaded a neighbour to give me some lessons, a woman I had always thought was pretty dopey, but she was a whizz on the Amstrad.

I did grow to love it dearly. Probably wrote two million words on it. Didn’t want to give it up. I used to write articles, print them out, fax them in, no probs. Except offices started saying my copy had not come.

“Check the fax. Oh do come on,” I’d say. “That little machine, with paper spewing out.” It was eventually discovered in a corner, covered in dust, deaded.

Elderly relations had been telling me for years to get a proper computer. They are all ace on modern technology, yet none of them actually writes for a living. They need it to book backpacking trips to the Galapagos Islands.

So I got an iMac. Now can’t do without it. I don’t lose chapters the way I used to on the Amstrad, but there is stuff in there I don’t seem able to locate. Hello, come out, you’re wanted.

Emailing is brilliant – what a saving – but I am not so enchanted by the internet. Seems to take me for ever to book a train ticket to Carlisle. Be quicker to walk there. I did order food on Ocado – till I ended up with 42 tins of chopped tomatoes.

I hate being forced to pay tax and use banks online, the bastards – what was wrong with posting a cheque? We have to, they say, otherwise we will be cut off from what passes for modern life. But this modern life moves on so quickly. We had sundials for 1,000 years, before clocks slowly came in. Time to get the hang of it. I prefer to wait till everyone has whatever it is we have to have, then come in late, when prices are down and there are enough clever clogs around. I did contemplate, a year ago, getting a BlackBerry as people had been raving. Good job I didn’t. They are now obsolete. Then aren’t we all, eventually.

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