Still not practicing what I preach…


…or, maybe I should say, what I read. I continued reading The Tyranny of Email ** yesterday, until I couldn't hold my eyes open. Last night's section was about typewriters, and how revolutionary they seemed at the time. Typewriters… Can you imagine that? But it's true, at one time they were cutting edge. Like our technology today, that now changes weekly.

Mark Twain was the only famous writer known to have used the typewriter after it debuted. Otherwise, it was used for business, and women (mostly) were required to type something on the order of 150 wds/min in order to get a good job transcribing, etc. I don't even know how quickly I type. Quickly, but that's because I do it for hours every day. Too many hours.

I didn't pick up the book until I'd spent a couple hours catching up with the discussion board for my grad school courses, then another hour or two working on things blog related – because I accidentally deleted my entire sidebar here. Twice. And had to reconstruct it, or at least as much as I could, as I've collected various widgets and such around the net for years and can't find them again without a massive search.If I even remember what they were. Wanna talk fun?

Hours and hours of eye strain, of hunching over the computer after a long day, following a night of not sleeping well at all. Which followed several nights of not sleeping nearly as much as I should. Awful.

The sleep problems started (this round) after sitting up 'til 3:00 a.m. last Saturday, doing homework, then going to bed every night this week at about 1:30 a.m. Between a snoring husband with a cold (or the SWINE!), my bloggery, and various and sundry things like having to make the family lunches, I haven't rolled into bed, or fallen asleep at a reasonable time for, well, as long as I can remember. An early night for us is midnight. Really bad for the health. I'm surprised I hardly ever get sick. I must have an incredible immune system, because I don't deserve such health.

Then there's the accumulation of email. Oy. I cleared out 2,000
messages last week, and still have about 1,500 at Yahoo, and I don't
know how many at work. Lots of them, probably most, are
professional-related. They're either Google Alerts that comb the web
for a specific subject, then send me daily links, or their discussion
lists dedicated to a certain professional listserv. But I can't get
caught up with them.

No wonder John Freeman is up in arms. We really do need to change this, or who knows what will happen to our society, not to mention our rate of traffic fatalities, the majority of which are caused by drivers not paying attention.

I know my behavior's not unusual, and I don't know if I could change it, because I've never set goals to try. One thing in my favor, I don't own a portable internet device. Very few people really need those. CEOs, okay. Doctors, definitely. But your average citizen? Not on your life. Mostly, they're for show, as in, Look at me, I'm so important I can't be disconnected for even a minute!

Keep telling yourself that. Maybe one day you'll believe it. Those who say it are those who don't truly need it. Those who do don't have to justify it. 

Maybe over my next retreat I'll think about these issues, and how I can reorganize my life in order to both take better care of myself and teach my kids by example they don't always need a keyboard attached to their hands. But with Paul being sick lately (strangely, always when it's time to make lunches) I've fallen out of the habit of hanging out and watching TV. He's on the laptop; I'm on the desktop. I need the TV off, or it's too much mental stimulation. That hurts my head. This needs to change.

How, I don't yet know. Maybe John Freeman, and the others writing about the problem, will have some good ideas. It could start with getting off my butt and doing something else, though. I'm totally guessing on that one, but it makes a measure of sense. Better organization. That's another good idea. A schedule, though I rebel at those. Maybe a limit, instead, taken whenever I want, but adhered to.

Right now I'm too tired to think about it, and I need to get to work, where I'll hopefully not fall asleep at my desk. Because I could. I can fall asleep sitting up now. That's a new achievement, and one I'm not particularly proud of.

I'm off.

** Due to a recent requirement instituted by some internet organization or something, I have to disclose the source of every book I talk about. In this case, it was the library system. Not a freebie, not bought at a bookstore. But checked out from the library.

4 thoughts on “Still not practicing what I preach…

  1. The requirement about book disclosure seems to have come about because people have received freebies (and wanted to keep receiving them by praising them). Sadly we even have to worry about honesty in book reviews – what is the world coming to.


  2. Exactly! What is it coming to, indeed. It is sweet getting all those free books. I’ll admit that. But once the trickle becomes a flood it gets intimidating and a bit scary. I have piles and piles I never asked for, sitting all over the house. Now they’re published, in most cases, not that they don’t still appreciate the publicity. I could use a crew of reader/reviewers to come help me take care of these books. I’ll never get to them all. But the flood has at least subsided, now that publishers are being hit by the bad economy. I get only a fraction of what I used to get, and request nothing. That’s one good change I’ve made, at least.


  3. I remember the typewriter so well…lugging my mother’s manual off to college in 1979, putting in onion skin paper with a carbon if I needed to have an extra copy. Now when I teach computer lab to my third graders, you might hear the occasional, “Hit return, boys and girls.” As if a computer even has a return bar.
    I’m amazed at all you’ve got going on in your life: grad school, children, snoring husband. Maybe going to bed at midnight or after is a good thing; it gives us time we need in a very full day. On the other hand, I hope you get the rest you need.
    Your pictures, and the layout of your blog, are just gorgeous. And, inspiring.


  4. Bellezza, you’re a dear! Thanks so much for the kind note. I got a deluxe (for the time) typewriter when I graduated from high school in 1984. I remember sitting in my apartment, M.A. in literature on the wall, typing resume after resume (different versions for different positions). My typewriter kept documents in memory, and I could copy what I’d just typed over and over, the machine acting as a copier. Really DEEE-LUXE!!


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