1988—1990: People I know are buying computers and think I should buy one, too. I think they are nuts. Technology and I are not a fit. It’s that simple.
1991-94: Nothing is simple. I buy a home computer. I am afraid to take it out of the box. Mario, the handy man in my building, who has fixed and installed every item in my apartment since 1977, takes out the computer and sets it up. I do not get it. Pressing keys and staring at a screen is not writing. It is making airline reservations.
1995-1999: My daughter tells me I am the only mother of a college student who does not email her child. I learn how to email. At the Writer’s Room in lower Manhattan where I rent space, I am one of two people using a typewriter. We sit in a tiny room far from the main area where we cannot be heard. I buy a laptop, remove it from the box, and take it to the Writer’s Room. Occasionally I use it. Most of the time, I write in the computer lab at the college where I teach. The tech whiz in charge rescues me. During a shrieking/panic episode of pressing wrong buttons and deleting huge chunks, I hear laughter from the student beside me. I ask her what’s so funny. She says, “I’ve taken your class and read your book. It’s amazing how stupid you are here.”
2000-2006: I don’t get less stupid, just a tad less afraid. I use desktops and my laptop more and more. I get comfortable with floppy discs. Everyone else uses thumb drives. The printer Mario hooked up no longer works. Neither does Mario. He is retired and living in Puerto Rico. The tech whiz in the school computer lab writes down what kind of printer I should buy. I go alone to the store, buy it, and take it out of the box as soon as I get home. With only two calls to my salesman, I hook it up by myself. I email my seven most intimate friends with this news.
2007-2009: I meet a man I want to marry. I email everyone in the tri-state area with this news. Jonathan, my betrothed, understands and enjoys technology. That is not why I marry him, but it helps. I email him all day.
2010: Jonathan gives me two thumb drives. I call them ‘My Add Stick’ and ‘Nancy’s Thumb.’ He shows me simple ways to file, save, cut and paste. Simple for him. I take my lap top on vacation to Italy. I also take ‘Nancy’s Thumb.’
2011: Jonathan teaches a class at the public library called Computer for Beginners. After learning how to email, a student wants to email his daughter. Jonathan asks for her address. The man tells him, “36 Meadowbrook Lane.” An 89-year-old female student, wanting to meet men, goes on Ok Cupid, and Match.com. In her profile, she calls herself ‘computer savvy.’ My husband calls me ‘advanced.’
2012: I start this blog, LOVE ‘N STUFF. I write an online column for AARP. My editor urges me to Tweet and do other things his regular contributors do. After working with me through emails and on the web, my editor changes his mind.
2013: My blog needs a facelift. I hire a web expert. He does a splendid job. The redesign looks great. The expert still works for me. So does my husband for free.
Early 2014: I make three New Year’s resolutions: 1. Have my paid and unpaid experts handle ALL matters I do not understand. 2. Remind them and everyone I know that technology is not my field. 3. Remind myself regularly that it wasn’t Tolstoy’s either.
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