New Mexico · Outdoors · Sports

For Love of Luddites

I promise this isn’t going to be a big venting session, but as a disclaimer, I was inspired to write this as I sat in front of my computer waiting for a website to finish loading. And waiting. And waiting.

Granted, my computer is about four and a half years old. I’m pretty sure that’s 50 in computer years, but I’m struggling to work up the motivation/nerve to go shopping for another one.

Because. I. Hate. Technology.

Computers? I work with one every day, dealing with what my employers freely admit is a volatile operating system. As for my home computer, I have for the moment learned to deal with its slowness by honing my multitasking skills. I’ll click my web browser icon, go put some dishes away, then return to surf. Honing skills makes up for denial of obsolete technology, right??

I can’t blame denial for the state of my cell phone. It’s just a cell phone, no “i,” no “smart,” no anything before it. It gives me what I need: calling; voicemail; texting; a camera that occasionally produces things resembling photographs. Yes, I have seen and handled other peoples’ smartphones, and felt a twinge of envy – that is, until I try to actually use the things. All of those touchscreens stir up haunting memories of failed childhood games of “Operation” with its godawful honk signaling that you have KILLED THE PATIENT. A surgeon’s hands I don’t have — mine are more suited to friendlier, simpler instruments: a pen; a cooking utensil; a large cookie. Better yet, nothing but air while I’m out running.

Ah, running. Running is my break from all of those aggravating gadgets. No screens, no buttons, nothing to break, nothing to really, really, really want to throw out of a window.

My aversion to iPods may stem from the fact that I started running years before such devices became available, and I got used to just running with whatever catchy song was stuck in my head. I might be more inclined to try iPods if not for most of my running routes requiring me to deal with a) cars (hence their drivers) and/or b) mountain bikers. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be…how shall we say…oblivious as a rock while running, so I figure listening to music instead of being at least vaguely tuned into approaching vehicles, whether 2- or 4-wheeled, would only end badly.

I also shy away from Garmins. Granted, I do have times when I’m a stickler for mileage down to the decimal – they usually involve dire intestinal situations. And I suppose Garmins are useful on trails when all of the shrubs and cacti start to look the same (“I THINK I took this fork – but where’s the fencepost? Is that a coyote skull?”). I think my main annoyance with Garmins is that chirping sound they make at every mile. It makes me nervous. I start to fear I’m being stalked by a rabid roadrunner or prairie dog. The panic leads to one of those dire situations mentioned above. Bad news.

I guess the lesson to be learned is this: tech gadgets can be alternately scary, annoying, or absolutely life-saving. In fact, they appear to have a suspicious amount in common with those inevitable cars and mountain bikers. Maybe what they all need is just a little open-mindedness and a lot of patience.

In the meantime, if you hear about a smartphone being hurled at a driver who blew through a stop sign, I deny everything.

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3 thoughts on “For Love of Luddites

  1. I totally agree with your comments about the wired runners. I was recently at a race where it seemed like more than half of the runners had one, two, or more wires plugged into their ears. Aside from a safety issue, as far as I am concerned, if you are zoned out from what is going on around you – sounds of nature, other runners, etc., it ruins the run. I enjoy the blog. Keep it up!

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