This past weekend was, here in New England the first real taste of spring. The temperatures rose into the mid-50’s and after what feels like an eternity the sun shone bright in the beautiful blue sky. The sounds of hammers and children’s laughter peppered the air as the warmth-starved inhabitants found reason to get themselves out into the day. It seemed everyone was outside – except me. Despite my great intentions to take a long walk and enjoy the outdoors yesterday, I was (for the most part) in my house doing “chores”. Actually, there was one particular chore which ate up the bulk of my hours – setting up a new desktop computer for my kids (and myself).
After allowing myself to sleep in a bit I went up to my third floor with full intention of “conquering the beast”; coffee, eyeglasses and flashlight in hand. I figured at worst I would spend a couple of hours getting the new machine configured and linked in with the new printer and then I would be able to go play for a little bit before returning home to finish the more mundane weekly tasks that also crowded my list. But it just didn’t pan out that way. Despite my best efforts, and some minor successes, I descended hours later defeated by the technology that is supposed to make my life run more easily. As I struggled to understand the cryptic instructions – hopeful that if I tried just one more time I would be successful – I pondered the irony of the task I was tangled in.
Computers are no doubt an excellent tool to allow us to do a myriad of things in our lives, like write this blog for instance. They certainly have the ability to make our lives easier but in so many ways they do quite the opposite. Whether it’s struggling to install new software, weeding through virtual junk emails or waiting endlessly on hold for technical support, they can be major time-suckers – and what is meant to be simple is often rather complicated. Now, don’t get me wrong here – I have most certainly bought into the computer age – hook, line, and sinker. I love my computer – if “love” can be used in this context – but sometimes the promise of the ease it will offer doesn’t outweigh the simple alternatives for the use of my time.
By evening, I certainly wished that I had mapped out my day a little differently. Given that the reward of completion with regard to getting the computer set-up eluded me, I wished I had given up earlier and gotten myself outside more. The promise of simple had outweighed one of the simplest things of all, a walk in the warm air. Next time I am faced with a similar choice – I will choose the simple, renewing path – the chores and tasks and technology aren’t going anywhere, they will be here to frustrate me for many years to come and the first days of spring are never meant to be ignored.