Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of Month Date, 2004
Power delay ended up being a blessing
When the power supply of my laptop gave up, I was almost paralyzed. Not physically, but almost.
As I would sometimes say, half of my life depends on the life of my laptop computer. I cannot function without it because most of what I do relies on my computer and the Internet.
I do most of my banking, paying bills, reserving books in the library, and getting quick information on many things through the Internet. It is also the fastest and cheapest way to communicate with family and friends.
So when the costumer service person told me that it would take about two weeks before they could possibly give me a replacement power supply and they didn't have a loaner, my world halted for a second.
Gripped by misery, I immediately thought a lot of my work would be delayed. My litanies began.
I would not make it to my next deadlines.
The project proposal I was writing would be shelved again for another two weeks. Some photographs I needed to process would have to wait.
The convenience of online banking would be temporarily unavailable.
As the saying goes, "Technology is really great when it is working." So what happens when it stops working? It is frustrating and threatening.
I remember having the same feeling of helplessness four years ago when the whole world was threatened by the Y2K bug. Speculation abounded that the end of the world was coming because our modern lives depended on technology, on computers. And something was expected to go wrong as the year ushered in.
I remember staying up all night Dec. 31, 1999. But we made it. The Y2K bug proved to be a false alarm.
When I realized I had to deal with the fact that my laptop was useless until that power supply comes, I consoled myself, "Well this could be a blessing in disguise because then I could do other things that do not require the help of my laptop." With the amount of reading I had to do I thought this would be a good time to catch up.
Any effort to concentrate on reading books was futile. For the two weeks I couldn't use my laptop, I realized how my dependence on this little box was not simply alarming but was really quite sad.
I asked myself, "What would I do if my other gadgets stopped working like my cell phone, my digital camera, my digital alarm clock?"
I have adapted so well to using my laptop - supposedly just a tool - and now I couldn't live without it. I have adapted so well to different technologies that I didn't know where to begin to survive without them.
Have computer and Internet become some sort of life-commanding deity crucial for our survival in a high-tech world?
I want to say no, they have not. But seriously, there is a danger of absolutizing the computer and Internet.
For some time I had to contemplate how I have become so dependent on these technologies that I would trade an impersonal instant message for a warm and personal "Hello" to a friend. Indeed these technologies make our lives easier but at the same time these are the same tools that can potentially pull us further apart.
I got my power supply restored. My laptop is running again. Some projects I am working on were delayed. I need to catch up in processing some photographs.
Thankful that my laptop halted my busy life, I can honestly say it was a blessing in disguise.
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