Testing my computer and testing my patience. This has been a terrible month, my computer (translation: my entire visual career and history) has up and gone to parts unknown twice in a matter of weeks. A new tower (I will attempt to use all the proper lingo) and hours upon hours upon hours of work by my son from remote access plus some visits by his old high school buddy that speaks the language, have yet to get everything back online. Nobody who speaks this language or has yet to use wrinkle cream seems to understand the emotional toll this takes upon someone over the age of 50 but I am not alone.
This turmoil appears to be a generational thing. I grew up with paper and pencils. A file cabinet sits to my left, a box of index cards to my right, and stacks of papers on the floor behind me ready to be mailed in for show entries. But I can’t do anything at all right now, I am dead and adrift on the cyber-sea because my pictures are off in the clouds someplace. I hit this keyboard with the touch of a smith corona veteran, pre-electric. Sometimes I miss the ding at the end of a line and that push of the lever rolling my page to another line, progress being made. But back to the issue of being lost in space.
I am still visually dead in the water after a week or more (I have lost track of time by now) with no idea if I will see my children again (the canvas ones). Assurances that they are alive and well in three different locations does not appease me because those “location” do not physically exist. I can’t pull open a drawer and hold slides up to the light. I can’t visit the storage facility and flip through the stacks….I have to rely on trust and technology….it makes my stomach churn.
I need passwords to access things, to open things to retrieve and restart and reboot. Those passwords are numerous, change constantly, are hard to remember, have different requirements of numbers and letters and symbols and security questions to the point they are written down, scratched out, redone, forgotten, changed arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! I made a document with the list of them. It is on my computer, the one I can’t get to with that info so we start over. Sometimes I have gotten back on and found some familiar documents and such but all the bookmarks are gone. I guess I don’t need to know where I have been anymore. I will find you again if I need you. Auto fill emails are gone too. So if you don’t hear from me maybe that is why. I can’t look you up in a phone book anymore. I used of those the other day at the mall. The lady had to take it out of a locked cabinet because she said people steal them now! Really? The phone book?
And another thing….wires and ports and connectors and such….why are they all black? Would it not have made more sense to follow the code of Gir-animals (remember matching tops and bottoms of kids clothing by matching the animals?) Why not make monitor cords one color, printers another, and the mouse, the speakers, the wifi, and the backup drive all that jazz have different colors so the separation of cords would be easier? That jumble of dusty medusas behind the desk is another exercise in frustration.
Back to my feelings of fear and helplessness. Perhaps it is the helplessness that is fueling my anger and my fear. I am not angry at anyone in particular, I am angry that I cannot do anything about this. I am at the mercy of others, much like someone who needs an operation is at the mercy of the surgeon. Same set of circumstances although mine is much less serious and pretty petty in the scheme of things. But the modern world has forced my world to go inside this little box in order to survive. Art is submitted online for shows, manipulated in various programs to be printed or produced. This had taken my work from my control and put it the hands of people who speak a language I do not understand and done in a way I find just silly at times. Why is it, when I select to do something, that two or more choices come up and one is highlighted in blue? I made my choice, I knew what I wanted to do but it seems as if some programmer someplace with commitment issues has to make sure I want to do whatever it is because maybe I really don’t. Sorry programmer geek but I grew up with a sense of commitment. Stop causing me anxiety by thinking that I don’t know if I should do something or not by sort of choosing for me at the next step with options I had not considered or needed to know about.
I am angry that I have caused my child to get upset because I am upset. I am not upset at him, I am upset at his (as in generational and professional) world. It all got so complicated so fast and I figured out why recently. The decade or so , say 15 years, when this computerization of our culture was happening, I was raising babies and toddlers and kids and teens with timetables, play dates, lessons, homework and so forth….I have no idea what TV shows, music, or movies were popular. I can sing the theme songs about trains and typing plumbers, name the characters who live under the sea and know how to work a VCR but suddenly, those days are gone and it is a whole new world. I was not learning along with everybody else, I did not have time. Now that I do, I am so far behind that I get anxious and angry about what everybody else finds so easy. They laugh at me. They make me feel stupid and old because I am worried that things dear to me are gone forever because I can’t see them. But they are “in the cloud” or “on the hard drive in the old tower now upstairs”. No they are not...not to me anyway. It is like paying bills. I was made fun of the other day because I write out a check, pull the seal off the envelope (anybody recall that awful taste of envelope glue?) and peel a stamp (no glue there anymore either) to send the money on its way. Take a photo and expect it to deposit? Are you kidding me? I don’t trust that one bit but it seems everybody does it now.
I know, I know….you think I should just go gather my buggy whips and slide sheets and burrow into the rabbit hole where I came from. My state of anxiety won’t let me right now. I am still waiting right here from my prodigal children to return from their cyberspace adventure so I can see them once again and know all is safe inside this little black box I call my career.
PS- Evidently HS buddy (aka batman to me) will be by later to save the day. But I may have to pick him up…my how things have not really changed as much as we like to think.