Withdrawal Symptoms and Beyond

The past couple of weeks have dished out some sudden changes in my life. It began with the demise of my computer. Oh was this stressful! I was not able to participate in Skype meetings  or prepare lesson plans for Haitian teachers as I had been doing. I no longer could check in on my friends and forums, quickly check on how many Book Club friends would be arriving for dinner, if my friends Sandra and Monika would be arriving to help me with garden tasks. No pictures of my grandchildren. No contact with family or friends from abroad. And more annoyances as well! I was truly vexed.

No grandchildren on the swing…


After several days of this, with no computer replacement or repairs in sight, I began to acquire some feelings of acceptance. Slowly, I realized that in fact the telephone still exists! (Thanks Monika!) There was a long period of fine weather and I could take advantage of it to accomplish lots of work outdoors.

Then it rained for 5 days in a row. Withdrawal once more…. No gardening possible.

I was able to read several books (and children’s books too!) without distraction. We got to visit friends, eat out, run errands and even do a bit of Christmas shopping!

I also had moments to worry about a sick friend, go to a doctor’s appointment with my husband, and other normal but less wonderful parts of life.

Then suddenly, my Phoebe became very ill. From our sweet rascally 5 year old, she rapidly turned into a lethargic dog who would not eat, whose breathing was laboured, who began panting. Friday was a most difficult day, filled with alarm, worries and fear! Would her temperature ever stop climbing? It did eventually. We may never know the cause of her illness, but we have it under control it seems. I am thankful that I was home, attentive to her that morning, and not upstairs – a slave to the computer! My favorite vet was on duty to care for her and we keep in touch. Yesterday Phoebe raced about with us after her walk, truly her mischievous self! Today is her last day on antibiotics, so we will be keeping a very close watch.

And so last night my husband returned with a used computer for me. Frankly, by now,  I am not as enthusiastic about it re-entering my life as you might expect. I hope my addiction will be under control. They say that children under the age of two should have ZERO screen time. I believe that! But I also believe that I should have controls not far from that! I love the access to information from Wikipedia, Google and such on-line places. I love being connected to far away family and having a place to share our photos. But at the moment, I do not have Skype. I cannot use our printer yet. There are some glitches still to be ironed out. I can wait!

I like to think that I am in charge now, in charge of how much of my life I choose to give over to my machine. Fortunately the sudden changes in my life were not huge life-altering ones. My new outlook is a fine thing! I think there is a place for a computer in my life, but in much smaller doses. I don’t think I’ll ever like sudden changes though.


About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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2 Responses to Withdrawal Symptoms and Beyond

  1. I’m suprised that after reading your latest book, you didn’t realize how much this affects us all. I love the fact I can look up anything practically anywhere, like an angle calculator for the roof we are building. But I also make a point of just leaving my phone in the car for the weekend unless I know someone is going to call. I make the excuse that I am charging it, but then I forget about it.

    What I hate most about the computer is the attention it takes away from the kids. It takes the time away from sitting on th floor and playing with them (bing! I just have to check my email!). It makes them feel less important than an electronic device. But as Mark used to say – “Does your computer (or phone) give you a hug when you feel sad?”

    As much as power tools, building projects and such can distract you from the kids as well, I see that as comletely different from the electronic black hole. It is creative. One could argue that certain aspects of electronics can be creative as well (absolutely!), but those aren’t the ones that are being used predominantly on the facebook/communication world.

    The use of the telephone is one of the reasons that I totally stopped writing long email letters except for topics that I feel need to be more precisely discussed. Even then, I use them as a part of the conversation, a reference, and a place to clarify my thoughts. Other than that, I have gone backwards in the past couple years from emails to telephone communication. It’s so much better. But then, I think being there in person is even better!!!

    Are you guys coming out for Christmas?

    • I like the ease with which I can research things like plants, books, maps and most recently – medicines for DH and the dog! A lot of my computer habits began when you moved westward and after Reed’s death. Computer use had always affected our family dynamics, from 1968 onward. Personally, a great deal of my time on the computer was directed by anger…at attitudes by others expecting me to pick up the pieces outside their computer world.(writing to relatives, planning holidays, grocery shopping, buying their underwear, emptying cat litter, etc etc etc.) My computer time was ME time, or so I thought. In fact it robbed me of most of my ME time.

      Money is a huge issue as regards our Christmas plans. It is still under discussion.

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