by Patricia Fua
Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
I sat down in front of what looked like one of those tiny black and white tv’s we used to have in our bedrooms… but it was a “computer”. It sure did not look like the nice one we had in the kitchen. We fought among us for turns to play solitaire. We had a nice computer. It filled up one desk and several shelves on the small bookcase that held the heavy printer. Oh, the days of computer solitaire.
I looked at the little hard disks and begin to panic. Some teachers had pc’s and others had apples. This little tv was an “apple”. Supposedly I would be able to take each person’s disk and put it into this little tv, and it would come up on the screen as a document that I would be able to manipulate. It did not matter if the person’s computer were a PC or a MAC… this “apple” would read their “files” through a program called, ClarisWorks.
I glanced at the clock and estimated this would be a 3-hour job just to “translate” the files and save them to work on later. After a few minutes of adjusting and getting over the shock of being asked to abort, fail, or retry? I finally got the hang of it. This was okay. I could talk to the machine by typing, but it was much “easier” than playing with the DOS language which I also did not understand. I was always asked do you want to do this? Are you sure? After some racing pulse I successfully saved the files on my disk from this computer and then prepared to work in the kitchen where the big computer was.
Fresh coffee. kids checked, put in the disk. “Does not recognize ClarisWorks” …or some other nonsensical message comes up on our wonderful HUGE computer. How dare they? Wait. I did not know who to be upset with. DOS or ClarisWorks, PC or MAC or the two college guys who had invented these fancy typewriters. I knew I wanted to figure this out.
I took my coffee and the one disk back to the front room. I opened the drapes and the sun was coming up hot now after the morning rain. Today was quiet and that was good because this might be a challenging puzzle, but I was ready for it. All in.
I slipped the disk in and went through the motions I had learned to access the file I needed from the disk. It opened right up. It was amazing! I must have sat for 3 minutes in total silence as my mind went through the implications of what had just happened. WE COULD SPEAK TO ONE ANOTHER! As I read through the files, my hand on the mouse by habit I must have clicked, and the text all turned blue. OH CRAP!
I took a deep breath in and let it out very slowly. I closed my eyes and proceeded to touch the mouse as though it would administer a small amount of electricity to me upon contact. I gritted my teeth, held my breath, and touched the body of the plastic mouse. The blue went away but everything was there. Within 10 minutes I was “cutting and pasting”. Now if you are young let me explain the first “cut and paste”.
In the old days we had typewriters. If you were lazy like I was and you need to do a major edit, such as making the summary on your paper become the introduction, you make 2 “xerox copies” of the paper you typed. You cut the sections out with scissors and using rubber cement, you attach the cut outs on a fresh paper in the correct order, and then you carefully adjust the toner and make the final copy.
But this new computer…wow. It did everything. Spoke several languages and was what we would soon call “user friendly”. I was so excited. I was facing my first major report, the self-study for a big public high school. What I saw ahead, was unlimited potential. And the best part? It was so small I could carry it places! (Soon I had the brand-new GATEWAY laptop… and a HUGE cell phone.)
As years went by many changes came about. And I never choose sides but learned both types of computers. I was willing to learn as much as I could. Imagine the delight at the arrival of the internet to me on a tiny island in Micronesia in 1994(?). WOW. I have embraced change and always benefitted from that. This does not mean I have not failed. It means I have embraced change. I have had an open mind. It is probably my best characteristic.
It is imperative that we accept change. Better yet, let us EMBRACE it. RUN toward it. We need to communicate, learn, and grow in GOOD ways. We must rise and shake of the dust of the past. Tear down the idols and listen to one another. I pray for these things today as I remember this silly day being so afraid, and totally overcome with delight from the results of my willingness to jump in and roll up my sleeves.
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