It was sometime in the mid-90s when I entered the digital world. With the purchase of my first PC, I went online at home, and that, my friend, was going to be the extent of my dance with the digital. In those long-ago days, I was never going to get a cell phone. I railed against them, and those rude people who chatted on the bus to work. And forget film-less cameras. I intended to remain a devotee to Kodak! But the purity of my Luddite philosophy slowly eroded, and I came to embrace it all, especially my technologically-advanced walkie-talkie that lets me walk and talk from anywhere but home, including the bus.
So today I have to say it: I feel naked without my cell phone. It is a fait accompli that makes life easier, and perhaps a little sillier, as I check out what’s new on Facebook while waiting for an elevator. Nothing like constant connection to the lives of others.
But I retain one digital dilemma – I want to remain faithful to print reading material. I love holding a book in hand, and folding a newspaper and flipping through the pages of a magazine with gorgeous, enticing photography. There is nothing like the feel of fiber!
But my infidelity grows daily because for convenience, there is nothing like the iPhone. It is backlit. I can adjust the font to fit the exhaustion that may be invading my eyes. It sits comfortably in my coat pocket, and I never have to make a single decision about what I’m in the mood to read. I have thousands of books stored online. I can readily access my magazine subscriptions, and the daily New York Times all with a swipe of my finger.
But I feel guilty because I am part of the problem that contributes to the ever diminishing presence of paper books, newspapers and magazines. Every time I read about the demise of another print publication, I am sad. Even if I don’t read it. Just last week I read that New York magazine is contracting from a weekly to a bi-monthly to accommodate the reality that print no longer rules.
So even though I can get an online subscription to The Times, I cannot abandon ship. I love seeing it outside my door every morning. It’s a comfort and a reminder that a segment of the past lives today – because it may not in another 20 years.