My morning began with printer failure. I am back-logged with work but could not print a thing. I have an HP printer under warranty that has been working well, but for some reason, today it decided to quit. I realigned cartridges, cleaned the printer heads, replaced the ink cartridges, shut the printer down, and restarted it, and finally called HP. I sat on the phone with them for nearly two hours. After going through a stack of paper and who knows how much ink, they believe it is a problem with the print head and are sending a replacement.

Technology is great when it works, but the more computers, printers, smartphones, and other digital equipment we own, the more time we spend trying to keep them running. It’s stressful and time-consuming. Aren’t these the tools that are supposed to make life easier?

When I was a kid we had one family phone, one family car, no computers, and one television with a handful of stations—which really didn’t matter because we watched what my father wanted to watch. We were not in touch with the world as we are today but spent our day talking to people face-to-face or contemplating life on our own. We could hear our own thoughts. We were not inundated with the opinions, images, and rhetoric of streams of people on the internet, radio, phone, social media, and television.

When I’m in the midst of technical problems, my instincts tell me to toss it all. How freeing it would be to step away from the electronics. But can I really do that? Maybe—in small doses. I’m going to give it a try this weekend. I can’t really pat myself on the back about it though. I don’t have a printer for at least a few days.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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