I’ve been avoiding outright mentioning each day’s writing challenges that I’ve been doing. For those who’re taking part in it, you know what the assignment is. For those who aren’t part of it, I hope that whether you’ve figured it out or not, that you’ve at least been entertained.
For today’s installment… I don’t get the challenge. It has to do with writing in my own voice. Unless I’m intentionally trying to write fiction or expressing something in character… the voices are all mine. What am I supposed to do in writing in my own voice?? Write about something that is being taken away, and protest it. I suppose that could either be something real, or imagined. Life has a way of throwing some really crappy curveballs at you in life. I try not to hang on to anything very tightly. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21. Who am I to challenge God either?
The biggest thing that I would agonize over, short of the death of a loved one, is the loss of my laptop. By extension, that would also include my smart phone, and any other technology gadget. I sometimes joke about my pathetic life as a hermit, but taking away my technology tools would pretty make that a reality. You might as well hide the prosthetic limbs of an amputee, or take the hearing aids away from a deaf person.
I know, computers, and the things people typically do with them can get a bad reputation. Too much time wasted in gaming, surfing social media, visiting adult web sites, or a host of other time wasting activities. Other than occasional touching of base with Facebook, or Twitter, both of which are much easier for me to do on my phone than the laptop, I don’t do any of that. Did I mention in all these blog posts somewhere that I’m blind? Sure I did. You must’ve missed it. So here I am to tell you now. Believe it or not, computers are not only simple for blind people, but once you get past the small hurdle of the accessible software; they’re as invaluable as the aforementioned prosthetics that folks of other disabilities use. Technology devices are how I interact, and express myself. In fact, if you were to meet me in real life, I’d just be that guy over there in the corner, sitting quietly, not really talking to anybody. Eyes closed, relaxing… hey, he’s not asleep is he?
People ask what I do, and I answer, “I have a podcast, and I ‘m webmaster of a handful of web pages.” They usually don’t know what a podcast even is, and are only vaguely aware that there’s somebody who actually knows how to build the websites that they like to visit on the web. The conversation then falls flat. Sometimes ending with a patronizing comment, “I didn’t think blind people could even use a computer. That’s amazing”. Then I’ll go back to being the quiet guy in the corner, thinking about what to feature next on the podcast, or trying to mentally work the code on that page that I’ve been developing.
To take my technology away is to shut the door to nearly everyone I interact with on a daily basis. No podcasts to inform me, entertain me, or educate me. No online chats to interact with Internet peeps from across the globe. No feedback from listeners to my podcast to talk about something I got wrong about an old radio show, or something I got right about it. Though the hundred or more junk emails would disappear, it would cut me off of forums I participate in from issues of blindness, to Christian people, to disabled veterans, to various newsletters, and even notices to pay my electric bill. Don’t send me any paper mail to my snail mail box. It could take a while for me to find someone to read it to me… then I’d promptly forget it. No offense, but paper all looks the same to me.
I use my phone to read audio, or books in plain text, and my laptop to both read and take extensive notes about whatever crosses my mind. If I had a real, human type person reading all the stuff I consume everyday, they’d go hoarse with all the talking. My wife sometimes accuses me of not listening to her. She doesn’t realize that the computer voice in my earphones is often also competing with the chatter from a podcast, or music, and she’s just one more voice in the stream. Not to mention I may be in some intense concentration as I’m focusing on a long string of computer code, to get to the real important part where the buggy stuff is located. It’s always at the end of a line that is long enough to have the person in the room decide it’s a good time to repeat themselves just as the computer voice reaches that crucial spot.
There are times I do step away from it all. It makes for a nice change of pace to go either technology free, or at least on a reduced tether to it. I just like to be the one in charge of throwing away my prosthetic devices, and in charge of picking them up to hit the electronic pathways again.