I love hi-tech as much as the next person

I love hi-tech as much as the next person, but I try not to obsess over it. The first typewriting machine I owned was a Royal Sabre manual portable typewriter vintage 1970’s. There was once a case for it, but that’s long gone. It was my first laptop. I like the clickity-clackety sound of old typewriters, but am annoyed by electronic keyboards that attempt to mimic them.

In the bunker, the old typewriter still anchors a corner of a glass table top. An old typewriter sitting on a modern looking table is not at all out of place. Like my Dad’s old solid-state radio, it’s one of those relied on anchors. It would take considerable restoration to make it function properly. It was hi-tech. I could type in red or black, set “magic” margins and columns, yep hi-tech. The spell checker was my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary and the tool to expand my limited vocabulary was a Roget’s Thesaurus. They still grace the shelf just above my current typing machine. There was no grammar checker either. I relied on what little I recalled from stern English Grammar teachers.

I don’t know why they seemed so stern with a furrowed brow peering out over the glasses perched on the end of their noses. I was not the one receiving little stars on my work. She was perky with turned up nose and a pony tail. My acknowledgement from the unbendable grammar lady came in red ink followed by multiple exclamations points. If you’re curious, I do not believe she did irreparable harm to my self-esteem. On the bright side, she did occasionally compliment the content of compositions but still gave me a C or a D for poor grammar and punctuation. The D would be underlined. In red.

When the lights go out, I don’t know how some of us will communicate. Can you imagine a world without home computers, smart phones, and Lord help us social media? Not long ago, I saw a cartoon. It pictured a group of children walking the sidewalk appearing headed to school. In the picture, every child was walking and looking at their cell phones. Someone captioned it, “The Zombie Apocalypse.” These days, we’re not teaching them how to handwrite the English language. When I was a kid (heard that lately) it was called penmanship and also drew red letter critiques. I saw another cartoon with pictures of a road atlas and topographical maps asking with the advent of GPS if anyone knew how to use them.

What got the rusty brain apparatus moving on our high-tech world is the new heat and AC system I just had installed. My trusty, yet antiquated furnace died. Being the same age as the air conditioner I elected to replace both. My perspective might seem odd, but I grew up in the hollows (hollers if you’re local) of West Virginia. Our house was heated by coal and wood fired stoves in the winter and in the summer cooled by mountain air and open windows. Mom solved the humidifier issue by placing a pot of water on a stove top. We did just fine.

My old furnace and air conditioner were simple on and off systems. Meaning each would come on with full power when called and then shut down once they achieved the temperature called for by the thermostat. That’s frowned upon these days, hi-tech, high efficiency, and very high prices are upon us. I don’t have a thermostat. At least not something you might recognize as one. It’s actually a tablet connected to a magnetic mount. It controls everything, well except for Suzie-Q. It lights up when I walk past. It communicates directly or via my home wi-fi network. It even takes orders from Alexa. Imagine. This thing is so hi-tech that if I remove the thermostat tablet thingy from the wall and walk into another room it will run the appropriate system to bring that room to the thermostat called for temperature. The manual for the thermostat is a big as the one for the furnace.

Here’s what I know. I have two functional wood burning fireplaces and I’m keeping them. And Carolyn, do not correct my grammar. Please.

© 2018 J. D. Pendry J. D. Pendry’s American Journal


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