Friday, May 19, 2006

Confessions of a Neo-Luddite

from Jacqueline

Before I go any further with this business of blogging, which sounds so hip and cool, you must have guessed by now that I am the Luddite among the hip and cool here. You know the Luddites, led by good old Ned Lud in the early 1800’s - they were the fogies who didn’t want to move with the times, destroying machines that would render stocking-knitters obsolete. Now, I’m not going to dismantle anyone’s Spinning Jenny, but I am a techno-phobe, though I can talk the talk when I put my mind to it. The reason I am the Friday voice of Naked Authors is that I wanted the others to go first so I could see what I was supposed to do, and I needed time to get to grips with Patty’s excruciatingly simple instructions. Even after my first posting, she had to go in and save me because all sorts of weird things happened to my words.

And you may wonder why I rarely comment on posts by my fellow bloggers. Well, did you see what happened when I tried to send a comment to James the other day? It could have come from anyone calling themselves a naked author. I tell you, I have come so close to crashing the entire internet, I’m a threat to global communications. Every time I turn on my Apple, the web hangs by a mere thread. I have sent Patty so many emails with subject lines that read “Eeeeek” or “Sorry, but... “ or “Just another question ....” that she’s probably close to putting out a contract on me. I was once on hold waiting for the technician at Apple to come on the line to help me with a problem, and continued to fiddle-faddle with my computer just in case I could fix it myself – I know, it beggars belief, doesn’t it? Of course, I compounded the issue, and uttered the all-too familiar expletive appropriate at such times. I was mortified when a voice said, “Yes, we find that word really helps when the chips are down.”

Last year I invested in a UK cellphone because I travel there often and wanted a local number (apparently I can do something with a Sim card to adapt my US cellphone, but please, don’t confuse me ...). As you probably know, Britain is Cellphone Central, however they tend to do more texting than talking. People have whole conversations with you, break bread with you, and all the while they are constantly texting each other, fingers flying across the keys like spider-legs doing the cha-cha. As soon as I procured my cellphone – “mobile” in localspeak – I gave friends, family and my publisher my number, but added, “Whatever you do, don’t text me because I can’t text back.” The children of friends have tried to teach me the rudiments of texting, pressing the point that, “It’s simple, it’s an intuitive system.” Not until I can think my words onto that little screen will it be intuitive enough. I’ll stick to plain old voice-messaging.

Of course, technology delights me at times. I love the fact that I have a code-free DVD player, so that I can watch DVD’s from anywhere in the world, and I love the idea of wi-fi even though my iBook is a bit old to support it (four years – makes you laugh, doesn’t it?). My latest techno-gadget – OK, I know, you’ve had one for ages – is a memory-stick thing. My husband told me that my zip-drive was so “yesterday” and that I really should back up my work when I was traveling, rather than emailing anything important back to him to save for me, so why not buy a memory-stick? Who would have believed that this dinky little do-dad could hold all that information in its little insect body? Heck, I’ve seen bigger termites. And the fact that you can attach it to your key ring is just amazing, though I won’t do that because I have a bit of a problem with finding keys. And please don’t suggest one of those key-locator whatnots, because I am getting really fed up with things that buzz and beep and generally nag me with a tinny sound.

So, fellow naked authors and commentators, I do read everything, and love that I am part of the quintet (so tickled when Cornelia calls me ‘Our Jacqueline’), but you’ll have to bear with me if I don’t appear to be participating in the conversation - it takes every ounce of my techno-skill to send my post on Fridays.


  1. Oh, Jackie! You had me holding my sides! Here I thought I was the only one 'techno challenged'! I encountered the same problems over at our blog (Murderati) and I thought poor J.T. (bless her heart) was going to ask me to leave. So take heart-you're not alone. I still think electricity is black magic.

  2. I'm with you on the electricity, Evil E. And I'm such a luddite I can't even claim the "neo." Don't have a cellphone. Or cable. Well, that's also from being too broke...


  3. From Jacqueline:

    Ok, let's see if I can comment here. There was a TV show in Britain years (and years) ago, called, "Catweasel." about an ancient wizard who awakes in modern times. I loved it when he called the electric light, "electrickery!" I still feel a bit like that, and I think it runs in the family. I went over to see my brother the other day - he lives around the corner from me - and he answered the door wearing his overalls and a pair of rubber boots. "What are you wearing those for?" I asked. "Checking the power connections in the bathroom," he answered. I didn't tell him that I wear rubber gloves to change a light bulb. I may have to swing a head of garlic around the room now that I've started thinking about black magic ...

    And heaven only knows what this comment will look like!

  4. Jackie, you and I are going to get along just fine. My mentor for twelve years as a lawyer was a wonderful man who, at least as of my departure in 1996, still had not figured out how to use the HOLD button his his desk phone. The world has always been full of "electrickery"!

  5. From Jacqueline

    James, you will not believe this, but I used to sell voicemail systems - and I was really good at it, my clients loved me! Then one day someone suggested having the account execs get involved in training and I just about expired on the spot! I can cut off a call with my ear, imagine what I can do using my fingers. I cannot initiate a conference call, and I am in complete awe of people who can. I do not have call waiting because I can't stand it, the pressure of another call coming in just about fries me.

    By the way, I just bought a new gas grill with all sorts of gizmos (I'll never operate it myself), but I had my husband collect the bottle of propane - I was worried in case I blew myself up on the freeway!

    Hey, look at me - another comment!

  6. Hey, hey, hey, do I ever have "our Jacqueline" snowed thinking that I'm some kind of techo-geek. I only perpetuate the scam because I love her "Eeeek" emails. Monday I'm planning to put a photo in my post so everybody back up your hard drive!!!!

  7. Heh,heh, my friend Jackie isn't THAT much of a luddite. I remember her fancy, mysterious Mac she used for her magazine writing gig. She had that puppy smoking (in a good way) on occasion. Enjoyed all of your stories and wish you great success - and Cornelia, keep it down, girl. A good acting coach can help you conquer the stage-fright blews, I mean, blues.