Wednesday, September 23, 2015

No paper and pencil required

   

     Scrap paper has little important in my life.
     It’s about as useless as carrying extra dimes in my purse for calling from a phone booth, or going through the card catalog in the library to locate a book.
     I go along with a changed world and consider I am benefitting from newer and faster technology.
     Never one to lag behind, I lead a different lifestyle today. I use my notes app on my phone or computer a great majority of the time, and often while I am talking on the phone, too.
     Sometimes I email notes to Kay to remind her to check a website or product, and that’s very noble of me. When I look back at the seemingly related words a day later, chances are that I wonder what the note was all about in the first place, and where I was when I wrote it.
     When I travel I create a blog – I alert people a head of time to subscribe - to share comments and pictures that I glean from the notes I have been keeping on my computer. It does the trick for me in the evenings during my down time, and saves my general Facebook friends from suffering through my pictures.
     I often see other travelers with their heads buried writing in notebooks when they should be absorbing their surroundings getting a whole sensual experience. I am not much for that, and I collect thoughts like a rain barrel throughout the day. They will come pouring out on paper, and in the case of a trip to Ireland, it took two or three months after returning home for the adventure to make sense and “A Smidgen of Irish Luck” to be written.
     My cell phone takes pictures of book covers in stores I want to borrow from the library, or products I want to check on the Internet for more details.
     My pocket calendar went in the trash along with my shoulder pads and cinch waist belts years ago.
     I used to be a connoisseur of nifty note pads in all sizes, shapes and colors, and I would line them up in all the usual places - on my desk, bedside, purse and in the kitchen ready for action.



     Then like everyone else, I could never find something to write on when the phone rang. I raced from room to room in the house trying to maintain a level, professional voice searching for paper and pencil frantically.
     It is a good thing the other person couldn’t see me running, or stumbling, with one shoe on and the other off. Only my heavy breathing would give me away if I were careful not to remain a semblance of calmness.
     Or, worse yet, a week later I couldn’t find the slip of paper that had an important phone number that I needed instantly.
     Now it’s the White Pages, or “ask Siri” to get the information. No sweat. Our phonebook is hidden somewhere on the bottom shelf about as worthless as the deep fryer and bread maker I gave away in the last century.
     I noticed yesterday that the young person on the phone from my travel company talked slowly and loudly — I dislike that, and consider it an insult — and said that he would wait while I found a piece of paper and wrote the instructions down. Yikes. I was ten steps ahead of him already and on the company’s website filling in the information required about my passport. I am sure that he had been trained to deal with all types of older clients, and I don’t fault him. He did start moving along at my faster pace once he caught on to me.
     To this day when I get ready to throw a piece of paper in the trash, I think fondly of my former teaching colleague. She made a fetish over cutting up larger lined composition paper into quarters and cutting them down to size with the paper cutter. She used the backs of papers, too. Her trashcan was down to the bare minimum most of the time.  Even her students went along and helped out. She was living green and I applaud her earnest endeavor.
    She had me so well trained that every time I was about to toss a sheet of paper into the trash, I would make a slow arc in my pitch and often stop in midair to retrieve the paper before it went to its demise in the circular bin.
     I use less paper taking notes when I am writing a feature story, and I tape record it for better accuracy. The trusty notebook remains for capturing impressions about the interviewee or the location, body language clues and highlighting quotes that might work in the body of the story.
     My grocery list is on my cell phone, and I like that I can add to it when I am away from the kitchen when a thought comes into my head. My daily to-do-list is on my computer synced to my cell phone for easy checking throughout the day. With Wiki, Google and YouTube at my fingertips, it saves hours of time and less endless copying.
     Don’t think I am bragging, or can explain how going into the Cloud works by a long stretch. I just go into thin air, and leave it to the techies to figure it out.