Tuesday, April 14, 2009

pet peeve

There were no tornadoes, but our neighborhood was torn up Monday morning by high winds. There was a huge tree which had fallen across the street, blocking our usual route home, and taking several wires with it. A former babysitter had a tall tree land across the garage roof of the house. Our worst discomfort was having the cable/internet out all day. Other areas were without power.

It had me thinking about my dependency for the computer. I was restless all day, checking regularly to see if it was back up. Without internet access I can't read the news. I can't correspond with others (easily) and when the power is out I've realized that I can't even search for phone numbers or addresses since we no longer keep a paper phone book around.

It drives me crazy when I go to a store and the computers are down. Sales clerks are incapable of selling anything without them. I can have exact change and I still get the same response. They want to use the system because it keeps inventory. (Or maybe they don't know how to add tax or make change and are afraid of messing up?)

Fortunately, schools are not so quick to give up old ways. Yes, they have all sorts of high tech educational tools that are useless without electricity. They've got some great screen on the wall that allows a teacher to "write" on it and show interactive materials to the class. The library scans books in and out. No physical card catalog to find your books- if the power is out you'll never find anything without a visual search up and down the shelves. But, schools haven't forgotten how to do things the old way. Our media specialist will accommodate a child and write his or her name down with a pencil to deal with later when the power turns back on.


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