Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All I want for Christmas

Every year I have to face the challenge of my Christmas gift list. No, not the list of gifts I need to give. It's my wish list -- the things I would like to receive -- that is always a challenge. I am lucky to be able to list half a dozen things at most that I really would like to have. My friends and relatives must think I'm just being difficult, because I am not able to drop hints as to what would be good gifts. I am a failure as a consumer.

Most of the time, I take pride in this. I am relatively unplugged from the mass-marketing culture, since I hardly watch any TV, so I do not have an army of marketers telling me all the things that I ought to wanting for Christmas. So, like all insufferably smug people who can't resist telling you that they "don't watch TV," I believe I'm a better human being for that.

But occasionally a product comes along that is so good that it really alters my quality of life. My Treo 650 smartphone, which I expected to be a marginally useful item, has turned out to be a godsend. Carrying around my contact data made it extraordinarily easy for me to respond to customers and, better yet, proactively touch them when I was away from the office. I read a lot more books this year as a result of having downloadable audiobooks from Audible. I probably exercised more than I would have, because I had those audiobooks to look forward to. I played an embarrassing amount of Scrabble on that phone, to the point that my kids called it "Daddy's Scrabble phone". I eventually learned to take notes on it, which helped me harvest blog fodder throughout the day.

When a consumer product makes that big a difference in your life, you start to wonder what else you're missing. Perhaps being "unplugged," while sparing me the drone of prosthetic urgency, also deprives me of genuinely useful information about useful things.



Post a Comment

<< Home