Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I Want a Typewriter and Two Tin Cans

I am having bad luck with electronics lately. A couple of days ago, my sweet little ibook of 1 and a half years stopped working. Actually, the computer itself seems to be fine--that little white light on it that shows it snoozing is still working, but the adapter cord (which acts as a charger) fizzled out on May 1st. (I know that it was labor day in Italy, but I didn't think that meant computers could pack up their bags and go on vacation!) Anyway, it all happened right in the middle of preparing for The Long Trip Home updates--a new London article, a travelblog, other various maintenance works. Needless-to-say, I was a little frustrated.

Then on Monday my cell phone decided not to work anymore. Okay, I must admit that it's been going through phases lately--one day the battery won't turn on and the phone will only make beeping noises when I set it in its little battery-charging cradle. Other days it will shut off in the middle of a phone call. But I have had patience, and I have waited for the good days, when I can have complete conversations and the phone stays charged all day long.

But Monday ended all of that. Antonello called me twice, and as I answered, I could hear nothing--his voice was completely absent. Then I noticed that even if the phone rang, it made no sound--I only knew there was a call because it vibrated and the screen lit up. I fiddled around with it to see if I could up the volume, change the ringing sounds, anything--but it was useless. My phone had lost all audio ability.

I tend to wait until the last minute on these electronic things, always hoping that miraculously the phone (or computer cord) will awaken from its long state of confusion and work again. And so it comes to those deathbed moments when I realize: "Okay, I guess I do need a new cell phone."

I bought it yesterday. The people at the telephone store know me well now. I go there once every couple of months to recharge Antonello's phone, plus I have helped numerous people buy phones there, as well as bought a phone myself. They must wonder what this American girl is doing buying phones every few months in Italy, but they ask no questions. When I say "I need a new phone!" they never ask, "Well what happened to the old one?" No, they are patient with me.

Anyway, slowly my electronic problems are resolving themselves. I have a new phone now--a little blue one who makes audible noises when it rings and whose battery is completely charged. It's amazing. Plus, my mother (thank you mom!) is sending me a new charger for the ibook, so hopefully I will get that within the next week or so, and The Long Trip Home can be updated and life can go on as planned.

But, as I think about all of this electronic stuff--how I spend so much time sitting in front of a computer each day, rain or shine, and how my phone has become a basic need these days (along with food and water)--it is kind of depressing. I'd love to have a typewriter and click away, a cappuccino nearby and a comfortable chair to lean back on, look over my writing, and continue. I could look out the window and see Macerata around me, its beautiful sunsets and church bells, and I would feel like a real writer. Ahh.

But then there would be no delete key, erasing words like magic, and I wouldn't be able to send instant messages and write letters that arrive to their destinations in minutes. And my cell phone wouldn't play Verdi music when it rang, and I wouldn't receive text messages, and...



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