iPads are frustrating, especially for Boomers, those who have not grown up with the technology, not to mention those of us who never felt truly comfortable with more than pen and pencil. Perhaps that is one reason I love to draw: the sweet comfort of a piece of wood held gently against my fingers or a lovely Montblanc nestled in my hand, appreciative of its design and feel: the birthday gift of a beloved son.
This morning I push the “ reply” button on my email and the responding alphabet splits into two. I’m not sure why. In all the years I’ve commandeered the tablet, this has never occurred. Has my finger slipped? Has the tablet elf decided it’s time to add a new element or prompt the appearance of an underused feature?Are you listening to me and playing with me, machine? I feel the sheer scorn of all the Millennials and their quick- fingered ilk.
I look for a way to undo this annoyance, but the arrows that go both ways only work if I want to erase or remove entire words? I write in this irritating configuration to my husband shivering in Canada, inviting his counsel. He suggests turning the machine off and on. I move to another area of the Ipad, hoping that perhaps the dreaded overused incomprehensible machine will forget that change of alphabetic setup, return to default( does it even have a default position?),hoping this pain-in-the-ass new combination will magically disappear to allow me back to the original configuration I’ve used forever . But NO! It remains fast even having spread its infestation of trouble to other locales where I must write or communicate. I return to my email. Maybe if I jump up and down three times, wish upon a glittering star, cast omens, think pink thoughts, but it’s still there. Grrrrr.
Somehow I “ wipe” the two sections together and bravo! they coalesce but into a new formation in the middle of the page, not sitting neatly at the bottom as they once did.
When I worked at OCT and even as far back as Northern Secondary School, my colleagues suggested my
perfect job would be to make things disappear on the computer because I was really really good at that. Even my tech wizard boss would scratch his head in awe and wonder at my talent, unable to retrieve documents, programs, whatever because poof! all had vanished. I made sure I had a paper copy of my thesis, fearful that this “ skill” might unexpectedly and unbidden banish years of focused research.
What also perturbs me is the Ipad’s “ thinking” that it knows the word I intend to write, not just suggesting, but obliterating my thoughts. Sometimes it provides me with unwanted suggestions, or a variety of verbs in multiple tenses. I punch in my correct word to the sneaky little demon who would usurp my machinations, but still, it insists upon actually replacing my chosen word , causing me double effort to extricate its permutation from my own. This makes me furious. It’s as if we are playing” choose a word” and the IPad not ME is in charge, reprogramming me with some rubbish expression that has nothing to do with my context or intent. And because it’s a damn machine,I cannot yell or curse at it because some moron has programmed the first three letters of pro-, for example, to give me “protest, protesters, proactive, prototype, probable, procrastination… “whatever- that slows my thoughts and interrupts my intent.
And who too taught this jerk, this computer whiz about apostrophes, the difference between its and it’s, and that every proper name also requires an apostrophe? What lessons has the programmer forgotten from their year of failing Grade 9 English on the proper use of grammar.
And even now, having at least made those two sections come together in one swoop, I must have commandeered some other feature for as I type this, those damn bars are preventing me from seeing what I am writing . Double Grrrr.
And now – alas again-it’s a fight between me and the machine as it hides what I am writing. My only recourse is to keep typing behind the encroaching alphabet bar because it is obscuring my view, yet I refuse to stop, to bend, to give in to this annoyance, this shape shifter. I pull the bar down; it stubbornly bounces back to block my view, mocking me by refusing to move. I touch the screen gently, whispering terms of endearment, wink provocatively, suppressing the desire to smash it to smitherins ( a word with which it is unfamiliar. Only that recognizable red underline used on students forever to indicate error. Mea culpa) No improvement.
Now I notice the words, my words are emerging beneath the obscuring bar. So hello!, I see you and can make my own corrections. Brave stupid word- wherein the machine can order and rearrange my concepts, blocking or reinventing what I am trying to communicate, causing me to type and retype ( not “ restyle” the word this stupid thing just replaced, and so I must retype “ retype”).
I know I am not slick, admittedly backward in fact in technology and I acknowledge some leaps and bounds in this advance in computers and iPads afford us- from Scrabble against an invisible “intermediate” opponent , Lumosity, on line meditation and new language learning, but those are the things I trigger for myself, not the remedial restorative programs all ready living in this device sitting on my lap. I want to trigger my thoughts, not request corrections or reinterpretation from a blockhead god whose “mind” has all ready been set, set to react to a few incipient letters of a word not fully formed, prefixes of a handful of consonants and vowels. When I put something down on this ersatz paper, I don’t want it interrupted so that my consciousness must correct another’s versions of what I am going to say, arrest my flow, yes my flow of verbiage that I may decide to correct, but I want to own that privilege.
I suppose there is some way to unprogram and rebuke this expensive piece of trash that apparently knows my thoughts better than I, attempting to obliterate my writing persona. But should I turn this bad boy upside down, shake it, bang at its buttons, scream at it( totally useless), it may make everything disappear and perhaps, only perhaps I might be worse off. Of course, I could retire to my desk with luxurious pen and pencil once again, but then, aside from snail mail, how could I tell my followers about my weekly rage?
And now that we know early use and exposure to this kind of technology will in deed impede the development of young children, how too it is not raising the blood pressure of the boomers, extending a reason to delegate this invention to the closet with our old shoes and retro clothes?. A strange contraption this and yet I reluctantly admit I have become its slave as I constantly seek its company, like a friend I’ld rather drop and yet to which I am attracted by what they offer in the way of entertainment, puzzle and stimulation, enlarging my world while captivating me with its charms, an evil witch full of tricks and tribulations, bamboozling, erasing my thoughts with their own. Moving forward we are drawn back into the realm of the shamen( no Ipad, not “ shaken”), my plural for shaman. Or does no word exist for you?
More magic , less reason and razzledazzle from the creators who spawned us. What else does the future hold to control and perturb us?