Sunday, January 19, 2014

Between the Pages

One of the unfortunate things that comes with the wisdom of age is the realization that some things will never change.  The bad news here is, of course, that poverty and political high jinks, and greed continue along at their unaffected pace.  The good news, however, is that some things, albeit very few, do actually change.  Witness the rapid impact of technology on all things in this culture.  I'm constantly reminded how kids in the high school classroom have never lived in a world without computers and cell phones.
     Recently, I've noticed that the shift in technology has moved into my dream life, with cell phones and now smart phones making appearances in the theater of the night on a regular basis.  Like older motifs, I find that the phone becomes suddenly inoperable, or crumbles in my hands.  On other occasions, I can't find the numbers for keys, and now and again I don't know my number or the one I'm trying to reach.  I keep thinking to myself during these dreams why didn't I write them down.  Of course, that's the new reality, we don't write things like phone numbers down any more.  I'm sure there are more than a few folks out their who don't even know their own phone number any more.
I've already taken a stand for books.  I like their feel and smell and the color of their covers.  I like using bookmarks and occasionally finding things I've stuck between the pages.

     One of the things I used to do regularly as a college student working in the research library at UCLA was re-shelf books.  With some particularly interesting or old volumes, it was not uncommon to find things left in these books by readers from times past.  I once found a pocket calendar from 1929 with an illustration of a Union Oil gas station and a wonderful depiction of a fancy car waiting for service.  But of all the things, the one I recall most fondly is a dried fern pressed between the pages of a thick book.  It had turned completely white.  Like lace carefully hidden out of sight and away from light it remained for years.  I later framed it with a poem I'd written and gave it to an old flame.  Wish I had kept it now.  Hopefully, it's mystery still burns brightly somewhere.
     It's the music thing I have the most difficulty with.  Not because I can't figure out how to download something or avail myself of wonderful web sites like Pandora or I-Tunes.  What bugs me is that I don't seem to go to a particular place to listen to music or handle the records or disks anymore.  Oddly enough, most of the music I enjoy these days plays while I am driving.  That's not too bad.  Yet, I find when I'm at this keyboard, I don't seem to be listening to as much music.  Shakespeare warned about the reality of not having enough music in our lives.  Me thinks I'll put more energy into finding a way to make that happen.
   I may never be around to draw any meaningful conclusions about what and how this rapid technological shift will all play out, but I do see some writing on some walls.  I wonder too if the day will come when we actually say let's go back to the old way of doing this.  Last week I could see the advantage of writing on a board...a white board because chalk boards are rare these days... I used to think it's like having a massive billboard in your classroom.  Lots of possibilities too with brainstorming, having kids get up out of their seats and participate, and, of course writing and spelling words and putting sentences together and drawing diagrams and all the other spur of the moment things that can go on a board.  The blackboard..chalkboard...white board...will one day be the virtual board.  It's already happening.

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