by Barb who became a grandmother for the third time on Saturday
Lately, when I turn on Netflix, it’s been nagging me. “Next time, try using your voice remote to say ‘Netflix.'”
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to use my voice remote. I don’t want to say, “Netflix.” I am perfectly happy to tab around until I locate the Netflix logo on their app and then press the select button on my remote. In fact, I prefer it.
I don’t want to talk to my computer. Or my iPad. Or even my iPhone, more than is absolutely necessary. If I have a question I’ll type it into a search engine, thanks. And if not talking to my phone means I can’t text you while I’m driving, you can wait. The odds of you texting me something so important I have to respond immediately are infinitesimal.
I don’t want my devices talking to me, either. Nothing annoys me more than when I’m using technology to accomplish some task and suddenly a video ad starts running or music comes blasting at me. I keep the sound off on every device I own most of the time, but once in a while I turn it on to actually listen to something I want to hear and then forget to turn it off. I always regret it. I miss a lot of stuff with the sound turned off, like the notification about your all-important text, but I can’t say I’m sorry.
I don’t want my devices doing anything or remembering anything or reminding me of stuff. I have real people in my life to nag me, and frankly, that is plenty. I don’t need inanimate objects pitching in. I spend my days with a roomful of imaginary people for a reason. Leave me alone.
My husband has rigged up something at our house. I can’t even tell you if it’s Alexa or Siri or what. Honestly, that’s how little I interact with it. But every once in awhile, whoever she is will announce she’s turning off the TV. And then she does. I don’t know if she’s responding to something one of the characters in the TV show has said, or if she’d decided we can’t handle whatever we’re watching. Or that maybe that we should go outside and get some fresh air. I never find it helpful.
I realize that up to this point, this post has sounded like the rantings of a classic crankly old person. “Oh for the good old days of rotary dial phones and typewriters.” But I have no interest in going back there. I now understand that I spent most of my adulthood in what was a golden age for me. The age of the keyboard.
In junior high I flunked typing twice. Proto-feminist that I was, with the sophistication of a thirteen-year-old, I reasoned that if I couldn’t type, I would never end up being some man’s secretary. (“Why would she be worried about that?” younger readers are wondering. Good. Progress.) Of course, I also have the fine motor skills of a puppy playing the piano, so while I deliberately threw the class, I undoubtedly wouldn’t have done well even if I’d tried.
And then I spent the rest of my life typing. SO IRONIC. And I’m still terrible at it. And slow. But I’ve come to understand it’s the slowness I value. I LOVE having those keystrokes between me and the world. They provide just enough distance to make me happy and comfortable. Just enough delay so I can absorb and process. My keyboard is the the transformer that converts my fast-moving mind to the speed of my slow-moving fingers. Which is a better speed for me to handle to world and for the world to handle me.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to shut the world out. I just want it on a permanent sixty-second delay.
What about you readers? Talking to your devices — mega-convenience or uncomfortable interaction?