Yesterday, a woman at my bus stop chided me and I suppose the world, really, for what she referred to as the curse of modern technology. I couldn’t disagree with her: I had my head in my phone at the time. And I also wouldn’t disagree because if it weren’t for her nudging me, I’d not have noticed my bus come.
Only, at that moment I was texting someone to arrange a time for a mentoring session. On the bus to an event, I was checking out the running order and going over the bits I was due to do. I proof-read a short story of mine that I was due to email out, then I emailed it out.
So this is my work in my phone. So that’s this stranger at the bus stop and there’s also the fact that this week I’ve written more about really technical technology issues than I ever imagined I’d be interested in.
But it was when I got off the bus that I knew I wanted to talk to you about this. About how technology is vastly more than technical specifications and horrendously expensive prices and I think more so for writers than anyone.
Because I could tell you what the phone is and I know enough to explain how I have all of my work with me wherever I go but it’s not about the technology. It’s about what it does to us.
The bus stop woman was right about my being distracted, but not long ago I’d have been distracted with a heavy bag around my neck and half a dozen mains cables.
Today I can leave my office with my large-screen iPhone and an incredible forthcoming keyboard called a TextBlade. That’s my office in my jeans pocket. And I carry a pair of AirPods, wireless headphones, in another pocket. So that’s my entertainment too. I walk around physically lighter than I ever have and it makes more of a psychological difference than I ever expected.
It was the AirPods that did it. I’d just got them back after loaning them out for a week and now I popped them in as I ran to the event.
If I looked it up, I could tell you how AirPods work and I’m sure between us we could read comparative reviews of how they sound. But knowing that they sound good and reading that they work without wires, that you just pop these in your ears and there is no cord, that doesn’t tell you what they’re like.
Just freed of that cord, I strode through Birmingham surrounded by music and knowing every single thing I could need for work was right there in my pocket.
I was physically lighter and I felt mentally lighter, except that I was now also late, I’d mangled one of the text messages and I’d left three typing mistakes in the short story. Also it’s all battery powered and doesn’t last long enough. Plus it all costs so much.
But apart from that, writing tools today are bliss.