I have a love-hate relationship with technology. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who does.
The past few weeks have been exceptionally challenging. The relationship I have with my computer, at the office and at home, as well as my portable devices has been on a giant roller coaster ride.
These advances are supposed to make life easier, but I can’t tell you how many times it was just the opposite or that my smartphone made me feel dumb.
For starters, we got a new software program to produce the paper. Sure, there was training. However I have found that those hypothetical situations that we created in training have a few gaps when it comes to actually doing the work you are supposed to do.
After years with the previous software, I had learned a few work-arounds and shortcuts to make the task at hand simpler. With the new system, I havenât had time to figure that out yet, and just the basics are so unfamiliar they take longer than they should. And thatâs not a good thing when you have deadlines.
Complicating matters was a lost Internet connection. When that connection is lost, so am I.
Because it’s usually there, you donât realize how dependant you are on the connection to get anything done. No writing. No email. No chance to check on the progress of pages in production. No anything. Not even a way to send a picture of the error message to the “Help” desk.
It was frustrating, and thatâs where some of the hate comes in.
Overall though, I love the ability of being able to “plug in” anywhere. It offers a certain sense of peace knowing that I can handle troublesome issues or hear from friends or family wherever I am.
It also allows me to create new connections. Such was the case a few years ago when I was in Chicago on business. While I was able to monitor my work and keep tabs on my familyâs comings and goings, I also had the opportunity to meet a relative I had never met before.
My father hails from Chicago and much of his family still lives there. A cousin, who I “met” on Facebook, saw me post a picture from the city and asked if I was in town. When I told him I was, we arranged to meet. It was such a great experience, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without modern technology.
At the same time, that ability to be in touch also prevents me from truly getting away from it all.
While I love the idea of being able to carry a phone with me so that I can call for help if I get stranded on the road or provide my kids with some freedom but still retain a way to monitor their whereabouts, it also means messages can get to me.
So, if I am on vacation watching the sun set over the ocean while enjoying an icy margarita or in the middle of a rousing game of dominos (my mom is extremely competitive and almost always wins), the caller/messenger/emailer on the other end has no way of knowing.
I admit, though, I am trying to get better. I may check my texts or email over the weekend, but I have stopped opening and responding to all the messages.
And I havenât quite figured out the hypnotic effect these devices have and why their hold on our lives is so strong. They literally suck hours of my life away. I’m hooked on a few video games and time seems to vanish if I start playing.
Teens are especially hard-pressed to set their electronic devices aside. From the time they wake up until they fall asleep or the battery dies (and then they are just tethered to the nearest electrical outlet), they are plugged in.
For example, instead of walking from one room to another to ask me a question, my daughter will send me a text. And that is between the multiple other conversations she is having with her friends.
Sometimes, I think she loves her phone more than me, and I hate that.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.