Thursday, September 15, 2005

Confessions of a Technophobe: The Road to Recovery

That's right--I am a technophobe. I said it. Or at least, I am working on being a recovering technophobe.

I think my fear of technology started when I was about seven years old. We had just gotten cable but hadn't yet updated our old and shamefully small television--with turn knob technology, no less--for one with a remote. Now, this television was bad, but it wasn't actually the tv that so traumatized me at such a tender age. It was my brother.

My brother and I used to argue relentlessly over which of the 30 or so channels to watch during our normal 5--7 hour daily television entertainment experience. For instance, I liked to watch M*A*S*H, a family drama about a medic unit during the Korean War: my brother, on the other hand, used to like to watch actual footage of medical procedures. Needless to say, I witnessed many things ill advised for an emotional seven-year-old prone to nightmares.

One day my brother and I were in a particularly heated debate over which show to watch (read, which one of us would get our way). We each had our advantages; I was cute and excessively loud (and thus could gain attention from our parents if I did not get my way) and my brother was bigger than me. *At this point, please note that the loud factor is only effective if someone is actually around to hear you.

My brother took the advantage and in one swift move managed to turn to the medical station (where a man having his appendix removed was in progress), remove the knob from the tv, and sit on me so I couldn't move. As I kicked and screamed and begged for him to change the station I couldn't help but stare transfixed at the morbid scene that my brother so desperately wanted to subject me.

It was downhill from that moment on. We eventually got a television with a remote, but the fear of my brother's rath prevented me from mastering the skills of the coveted remote. The men in my family seemed to instantly master the skills necessary for programming the VCR, a skill I have yet to gain. At first I had hopes for my mother, as she was a capable adult; but alas, if she got the remote in her hand there was a lot of swearing at the tv, as she could never figure out how to switch it to cable mode, and it was eventually switched off, along with any hope that women could or would ever be techno-savvy.

It is now that I am coming to grips with my own viewpoint on technology. I have a Masters In Teaching and barely squeeked by the requirements of the program to build a website and edit movies in IMovie. I managed to write a book for my program but I still fear having to figure out how to install software on my computer. Learning code is beyond me and something I hope to never do--but I realize now that I could learn it if I wanted.

I no longer have a brother sitting on me making me do something I don't want to do. What drives me to embrace technology now has more to do with self-expression, and learning techniques along the way help me get to that process.