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Proficient Procrastination

Proficient Procrastination

I’ve been procrastinating brilliantly (it’s a gift) for the last several weeks on some paperwork that I really must do. Today I was determined to complete it. It is a lovely day here, so I fixed a tall glass of ice water, took my computer outside on the deck, and settled down to work.

Before I actually started though, I thought I should record this moment of spring beauty and uncharacteristic productivity in some meaningful way. A picture on Instagram™! Just the thing.

photo (11)After taking the picture, I cropped and edited it, and posted it on Twitter™. When I checked Twitter™ to see if my picture had been retweeted, I saw a video link whose title was something like, “If You Only Watch One Video Today, Watch This One.” After watching the video, I read the comments below it and was reminded of comments on my own blog.

Finding no new comments on my blog, I thought, Well no surprise there. I’ve not posted anything lately. I opened a new word document to begin a new piece: perhaps a humorous post about procrastination. Just then, my computer made that tell-tale noise it makes when new emails arrive in my inbox. Guess what? Amazon™ has a new site now—woot.com. Who knew?

While shopping on woot.com, I got a call from my sister. I never get to talk to her very much at all and really, who ignores a call from her own sister? I mean that’s just rude.

An hour later, we ended our call and I sat back down to work. I hunkered down and finished one of the documents, printed it out, and celebrated heartily. When I started the second one though, I saw that I needed some information I didn’t yet have. Well it’s just silly to start when you know you won’t finish. That’s a total waste of time.

I’ll get it done tomorrow. Or Monday. Tuesday at the latest.

My Computer: Faster than a file cabinet and a Royal upright

imageI learned to type on my mother's Royal upright: a typewriter that doubled as a mechanical personal trainer: strength training and cardio-workouts with every use. No doubt it was one of Royal's best at the time she bought it; but when I was using it 15-20 years later, it was not what you'd call cutting edge.

Do you remember how they worked? You punched (literally) the letters on the keyboard which caused a chain reaction to occur. The key was attached to a little rod which ended with a metal letter stamp that corresponded to the letter on the key. When you punched the key, the stamp arose just as the ink ribbon did. The stamp collided with the ribbon on the paper before slapping back down into the machine to make room for the next letter's approach. If you got going too fast, the rods would crisscross and you'd have to stop and untangle them before proceeding. Now before you could do any of this, you had to load paper into the machine's carriage--a roller that moved the paper along at your keystroke pace. As you typed, the carriage would move the paper forward letter by letter. Once you reached the end of a line, you reached up and activated a lever on the roller which advanced the paper, released the tension, and allowed you to push the whole mechanism back to the beginning of the next line of text. (An activity which was, at least in my mother's advanced machine, accompanied by the sound of a bell--an encouraging little ring that I miss in the typing options of this millennium.)

It would take another whole blog post to recall for you how we corrected errors, made carbon copies, or--what a horror!--changed the tab stops. But suffice to say, that my computer is considerably more efficient. Plus it weighs a lot less, takes up less room, and the keys almost never get tangled.

So today, I'm thankful for my computer. And my ipad. Even though I don't work up a healthy sweat using them, I also don't have to replace their ribbons, so it's kind of an even exchange.

But you know what? I'm also thankful for that Royal upright. And for my mother who taught me how to use it (so what if she threatened bodily harm if I ever changed the tab stops).