Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jurassic Park, Here I Come

Illustration by Lila Prap
I've been working on a new book, a semi-autobiographical novel. It starts this way: "As Andrea Rouda awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, she found herself transformed in her bed into a giant dinosaur." Of course, Kafka had it easier, since cockroaches are so much smaller and Gregor Samsa could scurry around without breaking things. I've got my work cut out for me, that's for sure.

My transformation started a few years ago with my rejection of  Twitter. Until then, I was hip, I was cool, I was with it. I still knew what was what. New things did not scare me, I was ready for the challenge. (Internet-savvy and totally up-to-speed computer-wise from my early newspaper days at The Washington Star, little did I know way back then that those clunky big boxes were the precursors to my eventual downfall.) But Twitter left me cold. I tried it a few times and thought it dumb, meaningless, a waste of time, a flash in the pan. I sure was wrong, flash-in-the-pan wise, since, as everyone knows,Twitter now rules the universe with its mighty all-seeing, all-knowing #. (Hate the hashtag!)

After discarding many a birthday iPod--so tinny, so annoying stuck inside my ears--I was on my way to total obsolescence. Next I passed on getting a "smart phone," choosing to stick with my little AT&T flip phone. It's a beautiful thing: You call, it rings, we talk, that's good. My husband, a recognized digital guru, shakes his head in pity whenever he sees it. But the real problem is that I don't know what an "app" is--not really. I do intellectually, but I'm stymied as to how someone can actually earn millions designing apps. I am scratching my head trying to come up with one I might want, even if I had somewhere to put it. Without a smart phone, I am heading nowhere fast.

Now it's official: I am prehistoric. Besides having no tattoos or piercings, except for those two in my ears that are totally tiny and symmetrical and through which you cannot drive a Buick, I also own no earphones. (They are called earbuds now, I know, but I still don't have any.) I don't have a Netflix account, I don't stream anything. I don't watch TV shows on Hulu. I don't want to watch movies intended to be projected onto a huge screen on something the size of my own palm. I won't read a book on a glowing screen made of plastic, no matter how portable it is. In fact, all I want to do, really, is go outside to my yard and eat leaves off the treetops and maybe grab some of those wild blackberries that grow way out in the back for dessert.


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