Yes indeed, it is.
Yesterday I flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Despite the fact that it was a very windy day, the ride was smooth, and took less than an hour in the air.
I’ve done that LA-SF car trip many times, and I know how long it can seem–even the “quick” route, the one starting with the passage through Tehachapi, abruptly canceling any thought of the glittery metropolis of Los Angeles just left as the driver overlooks the beginning of the San Joaquin Valley’s enormous flatness. The Valley is then followed for the (lengthy, monotonous, usually very hot in summer) duration of the drive.
And I’ve done it the “long” route as well, the exceptionally stunning Big Sur cliffs and mysterious mists that make you feel as though there should be New Age-y music playing in the background, and the road that makes the hair on your arms stand up with equal measures of fear and delight as you negotiate its twistings and turnings and can’t keep yourself from glancing down at the sheer drops to the ocean below.
I was on the left side of the airplane yesterday, the ocean side. All I could see were the puffiest of clouds for almost the entire trip. On the right it was completely clear, with the valley below. The airplane seemed to be passing through the line of demarcation between the two as though it were determined to negotiate the narrow cleavage that separated them.
Today is one of those clear blue San Francisco days, a bit crisp but not at all cold, at least not to this New Englander.
I spent the morning, however, wrestling with another type of technology: computers. I am sad to say that this week’s Sanity Squad podcast will not appear (and, of course, it was the best ever!), thanks to the fact that Hot Recorder and Skype have decided to take some sort of revenge on us by sneaking into the audio the sound of a dreadful whip cracking with great regularity, as though a bunch of galley slaves were being flagellated in the background. And although this might be a nice sound effect for something else (“Ben Hur” comes to mind), it didn’t make the grade for PJ.
This will be fixed, and soon; so expect next week’s podcast as usual. But the fixing will take some doing. And this morning I was also engaged in trying to get a dialup connection where I’m staying, and although everything was nicely set up to do just that, the connection wasn’t happening because my perfectly fine password was not being recognized. Even the folks at the national center in the sky for dialups could not fix this (after about an hour and a half of trying), and referred me back to the dread Gateway or (gasp!) even dreader Microsoft helpline.
Right now I’m on the PC belonging to my hosts, rather than my laptop. And I’m not calling Gateway or Microsoft, not today. Today I’m going out!
It may be time for a new laptop, I know. That’s a shame, because my old one was purchased last April, not so very long ago in human years (or even dog years) but apparently aeons in computer years.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m no technology wizard. But I do have a certain amount of intelligence, and I do know my way around a computer, if only because I have come to use them so much. Same for my cell phone–and I’m even starting to have some rudimentary knowledge of my ipod.
And I’m convinced that technology has become so wonderful and so complex that it’s driving most of us somewhat crazy. It promises so much, and delivers so often. But it’s a touchy little high maintenance beast that must be soothed and placated and stroked and palpated and understood and listened to, and even then it has a willful and obstructionist mind of its own.
How many of us have cars with warning signals that light up so often that we’ve learned to totally ignore them? Just a glitch, we say. For two years my passenger air bag warning light has come on whenever it happens to feel a trifle grumpy, and it can stay that way for months at a time. The mechanics say they cannot fix it (or, alternately, that to fix it would cost something like the price of a new car). So, why bother?
Some of you may read this and say “Get a Mac!” (or, get a new car). And I think about it, believe me, I think about it; despite the cost, it might be worth it (the Mac, that is, not the car). And the prospect has a certain metaphoric resonance (apple/Apple), as well.
Any suggestions out there from my uniformly well-informed and tech-savvy readers? Or if you like, any of you can share your tales of technological woe–or joy, if you’ve got any.