Modernization: A Double-edged Sword

17 Dec

I put my five-dollar Royal portable typewriter back in the case on the floor of the closet.  My 1980s Konica FS-1 sits decoratively on a stack of art books, turning gray with dust, eight exposures left on a roll of Ilford Delta 400 black and white film.  I gave away my 2002 Dell Inspiron 8100–it still runs, slowly.  The cd player lies quietly next to some plumbing under the kitchen sink.

In two days, I upgraded it all to a Dell XPS with an i7 processor, a Nikon D3100, and the Sansa Clip.  I’ve always had a proclivity for collecting old things, eschewing wires and gadgets, which have always felt a bit like tether straps to a more complicated, congested way of life.

These are essentially luxury items, and, in the grander scheme of the universe, pieces of garbage, but also technological tools people need to survive.  When I didn’t have them, I didn’t feel like I needed them, yet I felt like I might be judged for being voluntarily ignorant and backward.  Now that I have them, some of my consumerism-induced fears are placated, but my overall anxiety seems to have increased and I still am not sure that I really fit into this new media world order.

The experience of walking into an electronics store and discovering that I didn’t even know what any of the things were that were for sale was harrowing.

This is my private embarrassment, of both having, and not having.

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