Although I really do love being connected on these internets – spending endless hours on email, Facebook, blogging, and, of course, WoWing – I occasionally have this tremendous yearning to toss it all and be a complete and utter Luddite. Yes, even though I love my job of studying digital technologies, I do at times want to refuse all things technological.
It’s odd, really, because those feelings don’t generally come with a determination to spend less time online, or take more breaks from the computer, or disconnect various and sundry electronic devices in my life. No, they’re usually felt as a kind of nostalgia, or a wish for a different life that feels almost like wishes I had as a child to live in fairyland, or in The Future, or in E. Nesbit’s amazing world of children and magic carpets of the turn of the last century.
I sometimes vow that when I retire from being a professor I’ll swear off all modern technologies and live like my great-grandmother did. I ignore my mother’s reminders that my great-grandmother churned her own butter, grew her own crops, sewed her own clothes, cooked over a wood stove…. well you get the picture. Sometimes even those things appeal to me.
I’m probably kidding with that vow. But it sure sounds good once in a while.
What I’m not sure about is why I get these yearnings in particular. Sure, I get burned out answering emails and doing all this work on Teh Electronic Box sometimes, so I guess it makes sense. But given that a good chunk of my job is play and games, you’d think that I’d embrace the fun side of electronics. Or maybe I’m answering my own question here. When your job is play, sometimes you kind of wish that you couldn’t play. No matter how fun it is.
More than that, I sometimes get freaked out by what technologies can do. Part of that is fun, actually: allowing myself to be amazed by technological innovations helps me appreciate where and when I am. But I also kind of shudder at times at certain things: ways to be ever more connected to other people, ways to tell people where you are and what you’re doing at every moment, computers that beat me at Rock-Scissors-Paper, high-powered computers I can carry in my pocket, cars that that give me directions in an only-marginally computer-y voice…
Yes, some of that stuff is a bit too much, really. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Kids today. I tell ya.