Sunday 26 September 2010

Time to put the pen down and get over it

I've resisted it for so long. Really, I have.

In fact, I was just talking the other day with a friend how it was with her, during the first month of my undergrad, that I created my email account, some eleven years ago. And it's just been that ever since. While another generation has been born under the banners of all things IM, Chat, MSN, Facebook, Flicker etc. and not to mention that they can access all these on their mobile phones at break-neck speed, I have bumbled along nicely with my one email account and a mobile phone you'd laugh at in a movie from 2001. These and my agenda (which is made of paper and requires ink or lead) have served me well and I am happy to report that I haven't missed a birthday and could tell you what I was doing on March 17th 2007 with enough detail to make you go, "Really?" It's not a diary a la Bridget Jones. It's practical, with tidbits of reactions. It's worked for me.

I remember the January just gone, in the heat of Buenos Aires as I sat around the pool with my in-laws. I happily had my feet dangling in the water and I had one little book open next to me while I was jotting in birthdays and anniversaries from the previous year into the latest version. There's no little button for this with a paper diary. It's sheer graft and a little task I love. There's something about it which taps into my paper and pen loving brain: little sparks fly off as I think about how the seasons will pass before it's his birthday or how lucky she is to be having hers on a Friday this year. And all this is to come.

My father-in-law, Sr. G, was mildly amused at me doing this. It seemed a lot of work to him. He is a busy man who has his Blackberry to tell him what he's doing with whom and his wife to let him know gently it's her birthday today. After his good laugh at me and my seemingly Victorian ways, his youngest son came across to the pool and jumped in, splashing one and all. Pages of my agenda got wet. But so did his Blackberry.

The paper dried so much quicker.

So, what have I resisted? I've resisted the need to feed people I'd rather forget with inane bits of information about my life; I've resisted having to check my emails to find out when my brother's birthday is; and I've resisted a mobile with satnav, having more than one email, chatting simultaneously on five different IM services (are they even called that?) and generally, being conspicuous.

Until now.

I'm still going to try and use my great navigational skills to get places. I will continue to write dates and times in my agenda (and choose a different colour for it every year, how nice) and I will not succumb to fake cyber social contracts when deciphering human interaction in a new office is hard enough. But now I will not be so invisible. It's time to put my toe in the water of the world of words that exist beyond the personal and humble pages inside my computer and desk drawers.

A forest bird never wants a cage, Ibsen told us, and he couldn't be more right in terms of where I am right now. My wings are opening and if I don't fly soon someone will come along and clip them. And I'll be stuck in a cage with my ideas on the inside and the world on the outside.

So, here's to flying and writing the view as I do so.

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