Tag Archives: chaos-theory

A taste of dystopia

Thanks to http://persononthings.wordpress.com/

Thanks to persononthings

Well, that was fun…not. The Daughter and I have just had six hours of being without power, and it was kind of scary, not because of any intrinsic danger [there was none], but because we were forced to acknowledge just how much we rely on power from the grid.

The most obvious thing that hit us was the lack of computers and internet. We both use the internet to stay connected to the great big world online, so six hours offline was painful. Strangely though, being offline would not have been so bad if we could have continued with our work. ‘Twas not to be.

The daughter uses a computer graphics package called Maya to model and animate 3D digital graphics, and of course I write and blog. She was reduced to dragging out a sketch pad and working in 2D. I went out into the garden and worked my butt off while cursing fluently and at length.

Why didn’t I get a notepad and pen and keep working the old fashioned way? Because I can’t seem to think and write longhand at the same time, not any more. But this very lack in myself was rather interesting, and triggered one of those moments when you recognize the influence of the past on the present.

Back when I was in my early 20’s I tried looking for a job armed only with my brand-spanking new BA  [Bachelor of Arts]. The economy was going through a downturn, and no one was interested in training up a graduate. In desperation, I talked my parents into giving me the money to attend a dinky three week course. The purpose of the course was to train me to be a receptionist.

Most of the course was devoted to the use of archaic switchboards, grooming and what passed for elocution back then. Tucked away in odd hours was some instruction on touch typing. We were given a manual with pictures and graded exercises, some paper, and a roomful of the oldest, clunkiest manual typewriters ever invented. The ones where you had to press a lever to create a ‘carriage return’.

For some odd reason I really took to typing. I’d learned the piano for ten years so my manual dexterity was pretty good, and it just felt so damn satisfying seeing those letters transfer from the inked ribbon to the clean white page.

Anyway, I digress. By the end of the three weeks I knew more about how to apply nail polish than I would ever want to know, and I knew how to touch type…very slowly. My speeds did improve though, and for many years I supported my life, and continuing studies, by temping as a typist/secretary/personal assistant. In short, I became a very good typist.

The ability to type, and my psychology course, eventually led me to computers and the rest is history. The point of this ramble, however, is that today I had an epiphany – if I had not done that stupid course, and if I had not learned to touch type, I might never have become interested in computers.

Would that have been so terrible? you ask.

Well, on my first date with my ex-husband we spent the whole night talking about philosophy and… computers. I firmly believe we would not have had a second date but for our shared fascination with this new phenomenon. And had we not married I would never have had The Daughter, I might not have done tech support and tech writing, and I might never have morphed that technical writing into writing fiction!

So there you have it, a whole life sent off on a different track because of just one, small skill. It’s not quite Chaos theory, but my own personal butterfly definitely clicketty clacked its way into my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The power’s back on, and I want to know if any of you have experienced something similar. Can you remember some small thing that changed your life? Maybe a series of small things? Or even some big ones?


-cough- suffering from internet deprivation syndrome -cough-



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