Mar 10, 2011

Ramblings of a Stressed-Out Writer

by Kari Diane Pike
The phrase is cliche, but despite the fact that technology is frequently the bane of my existence, I have to say I am very grateful for it. I had a completely different direction I wanted to take this blog post this morning, but when I tried to come up with a fresh description of how technology makes me feel, I came across an interesting explanation of how the phrase "bane of my existence" came about.

The term bane used to refer to death, destruction, or deadly poison (as in wolfsbane or hensbane). The "bane of his existence" meant that something literally caused his death. Today, the phrase refers more to something that annoys us or makes our life more difficult. Certainly technology doesn't kill us. It is supposed to make our life easier. Does it really? Perhaps we are just trading one kind of stress or challenge for a different one.

While not yet ancient of days, I am old enough to remember black and white television as being a luxury -- and if you had a color television, Wow! Things we used to just dream about in science fiction novels and comic books we now carry in our pockets. I love to skype with my children and grandchildren. I love hearing their voices, but seeing them live on the computer screen, blowing kisses and showing me their toothless smiles is priceless. How did I keep track of my oldest children when they were teenagers without cell phones? Research for my writing is much more convenient as I browse through the Harold B. Lee Library in my dining room instead of braving icy roads and spending hours wandering the isles amid a sea of books. How in the world did we get along without all this technology?

But what if something happens and we can't access that technology? We've become so dependent on easy access to information. Remember when we had to actually remember phone numbers? Now we store them in our phones and just push a button when we make a call. Are we getting soft? What is happening to our minds with all of this technology to think for us? Don't get me wrong. I am not anti-technology. I love my smart phone...even though it does seem to be smarter than me. (It took me an hour to figure out I had to slide to the left to turn it on. sheesh) I can't help but wonder what would happen if it all shut down. Because I've had technology shut down on me. More than once. In fact, if I am standing too close to the register at a store when the cashier is trying to process my check, the computer will freeze. I have witnesses. It is not fun. One day an entire gas station system crashed when I walked up to the pay station machine and pushed a button. The pumps stopped pumping and the pay stations froze up. (You should have seen the looks on the faces of the people trying to pump their gas!) Even the register in the store quit. They got it up and running after about five minutes. I pushed the pay button again and everything shut down again. Then a third time. I finally paid in cash and crossed my fingers when I lifted the pump handle. Crazy story, but all true.

When shows like Heroes first came out, I realized I could have created a character who discovers she has super powers through experiences like that. I totally missed the boat on that one. I am always intrigued by the way true experiences can be far stranger than anything made up. Why is that? (not why am I is truth stranger than fiction?)

I don't know how this post came about. I intended to write on an entirely different subject. Something enlightening and thought-provoking. Maybe it's all the drama around here lately. Let's just say I am not looking forward to court hearings every Monday for the next month. Although, I did meet some great potential characters at the impound lot. His tattoos were kind of cool. Hmmm...maybe it's time to put some of this fodder to good use and actually write that book. Besides, I'm still missing a knife, a rug, and some duct tape from the last time I left home.


  1. LOL...okay, I have been told that I should clarify that I am not the one going to court. I was not arrested,nor was my vehicle impounded. I am helping someone else who lives in our home as she tries to straighten out her life. Just so you know.

  2. Oh man, my husband comes home with good fodder EVERY DAY - he's a prosecutor. And yeah, I can be sad about it, or I can turn them into characters...

  3. um...thanks for the clarification Mom :) I was like, What the heck?

    I do not remember hearing the gas pump experience, 3 times?!? sorry, but that is funny. And I have never watched Heroes, as I am sure other people haven't, you could still use your own experiences for a story even if it happened to someone on a show!
    Great ideas, love you!

  4. I have a feeling my home library will be my santucary when or if technology is ever turned off for me. I'll miss it.

  5. I'm with you on the love/hate relationship with technology. The gas pump story is hilarious, too. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I have to say the gas pump story is priceless. I can relate with the love/hate tech tug of war.


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