I love technology. Except when I hate it. Guess where I am today on that spectrum, with 1 being “love” and 10 being “hate”?

Technology has become a part of my life, beginning with my being able to teach classes in Boonville, Clinton, and the Lake of the Ozarks – all simultaneously – from a televised classroom in Sedalia. That was about the same time a FAX became both a blessing and a burden in my office – a blessing because I could send something at the last minute to meet a deadline, and a burden because others could do the same thing.

Then, of course, we transmitted messages via email, so that we never again had to send a handwritten letter or thank-you note or talk on the telephone – but soon afterward, we could take our phones with us just in case we wanted to hear a real, live human voice. Those voices faded away, though, with the advent of automated answering machines instructing us to press 1 for this and 2 for that.

Along with all this, the personal computer became de rigueur. I remember asking Pam Burlingame when the Court could obtain computers for staff. She shrugged. A couple of years later, though, much to their dismay, Linda’s and Carol’s new computers changed their entire work routine. Eventually, they got used to them.

Then we got wi-fi at the house. THIS, this was fabulous. I could get online, send emails, shop, research – all at home. A program allowed me to connect my home computer with my office computer, so I could even work after Emily went to sleep. A little later, I decided that I didn’t need an office downtown, because I could do all my work from the comfort of home. 

About that time, I learned the first of several online educational platforms so I could teach classes without leaving the house. This was pretty cool. I could spend the whole day doing everything I needed to do wearing my pajamas if I wanted.  

Oh, yes. Life had changed dramatically because of technology. I was awed when I found I could talk to my family over the computer when I was in Afghanistan. 

Now, of course, we can be like Dick Tracy and talk to people over a watch. I have learned at least four educational platforms that allow me to teach different kinds of classes without leaving my little home office overlooking Barrett. 

Students submit their papers online and Word has a feature that allows me to correct papers – even in red “ink” – and return them without seeing the students’ faces. I don’t even have to file pleadings at the courthouse or mail them to be filed anymore. We file everything online and receive all our notices via email. I’m sure the day is approaching when hearings will be conducted online. Actually, some witnesses who cannot appear because of their location testify remotely via computer.

And finally, I can write my column and send it to Nicole from anywhere. 

Yes, this is all good. But what happens when service is interrupted? Nothing.

That has been the case over the past two weeks. I will be going along, working to beat the band, when all of a sudden, nothing moves on the computer screen. I get a picture of a dinosaur, and the text says that I don’t have internet. I then feel like throwing my computer or taking a hammer to Charter’s equipment – but I have resisted.

I turn off my computer and then turn it on. I reset the modem. I reset the router. I turn off the computer. Eventually, the internet works again, but not before my good humor has disappeared. I have called Charter before when this happens, and some hapless technician comes over and adjusts this and that, plays with wires here and there, and voila! The internet works seamlessly again.

But I know what’s coming  I just don’t know when – but I know it will be when I have yet again been lulled into a false sense of security and have moved to a 1 on the technology scale. Let’s just hope that day is a long time coming.


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