Thursday, March 29, 2012
One of those very scraggly, yet entirely confident, hipsters rang up my groceries today. She asked me if I was on my way home or to work. I said both. She said, oh, home and then work? I said no, home is work, although I do need a better chair. She very soberly said work and play should be separate. I said they are, mentally. She smiled disapprovingly and handed me my receipt.
I wondered if she had a point. Is working from home a bad idea, like driving a car while texting?
I do generally believe in doing one thing at a time. Earlier today I read this article (Thanks, Chris), confirming much of what I already believed.
After the article, and before the grocery store, I was pulling together a few things to go out for some coffee, writing, and a little Mark Strand (Thanks, Ann). No, not all at the same time. Well, actually I did plan to drink the coffee while writing. And I sometimes talk to my father on my cell phone while I'm walking. Nothing is ever black and white...
I do work from home, but I do not do all of my work from home. I also transform cafes, libraries, park benches, beaches, and community gardens into writing spaces. Sometimes I stand on a curb. And there is the corporate work, in the Financial District. But almost everything I do on my laptop is done at home.
So anyway, as I was preparing to do some work outside of the home I noticed my cell phone on the kitchen table and thought goodbye. I won't take you along today. I'll walk out the door without you, completely free from digital distraction. This relic of a phone has such minimal capability most would not see it as a devise qualified to distract. It has been out of date for quite some time now.
My husband has an iPhone. My parents are completely up-to-date with their shiny new phones. I don't think I know anyone with a phone like mine. Maybe this is why I like it.
A few years back I was out for cocktails with some friends when I pulled my phone from my handbag to check my messages (someone was late, possibly lost). A rather straightforward friend of mine yelped Denise! For God's sake. Get a new phone. That thing is embarrassing!
Embarrassment is not why I make purchases.
I didn't take my phone (yes, that same old phone) out with me today and I hesitate in buying a phone with more progressive technology because I don't enjoy constant connection. I don't want to be linked up with every single person I know at every moment of the day. I was slow to warm to the cell phone in general. I originally embraced it as a tool for emergencies, to be kept in my car.
I don't own a Kindle, yet. But I might, one day. I do read articles and poetry, watch movies, and do many other things on my laptop. I'm obviously far from being a Luddite. I tweet, I pin, I blog.
But I continue to write in pencil and transfer what I like to my laptop, later. It is what works for me, for now. I have no desire to tote my laptop around or confine myself to my apartment for peak efficiency. I feel a certain freedom and lightness when I walk out into the fresh air with only a pencil and paper.
That being said, it could all change.
I haven't shot film in ages. I really should finish that ancient roll of black & white film I have in my dad's old SLR. The last time I was in a darkroom shunning photographers using digital cameras, sheesh, it has been about five years now. And those days beneath a big black cloth, exposing large negatives, they are even further back.
I now treasure a banged up little digital camera I originally borrowed to make test shots before exposing large format negatives. It's not perfect, but it allows manipulation of film speed setting, lighting, and exposure. It has been good to me and has served me well as a camera for my thoughts.
I read this poem after writing the above, saw a connection, and thought I'd share it with you.
Old Man Leaves Party by Mark Strand