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Rant #21
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Warning: Excessive Use May Result in Loss of Motor Skills
by Jessica Dzwigalski

Clocks cannot tell our time of day
For what event to pray,
Because we have no time, because
We have no time until
We know what time we fill,
Why time is other than time was.
- W.H. Auden

"Where does the time go when it's not around here?"
- Barenaked Ladies

I sit in front of the radiating screen and wonder about what else I could be doing. I need to take a shower, call my grandmother, wash my car, and write a letter to my friend who is stationed in Germany. I utter the modern cliché that has become society's mantra— "There isn't enough time in the day!" Although, I did somehow find time to surf several of my daily sites— salon.com, techbargains.com, votenader.com, and bnl.org— oh can't forget a trip to yahoo to check my email for the seventh time today.

For someone who ridicules those who spend hours planted in front of the television, I certainly do spend a large amount of time in a similar position— ass in chair— eyes glued to a fancy version of the boob tube I abhor.

Maybe it's the interactivity that draws me into the small screen before me. Never before has anyone with an Internet connection and a computer been able to find out just about anything on just about everything. Want to check if you have ADD? (http://www.dhia.psu.edu/caffine.htm) Need help finding the best way to clean up after a murder? (http://www.cadaverinc.com) Looking for a step-by-step guide to join the forces of evil? (http://members.tripod.com/~mrpuzuzu/index.html) There is so much out there. So much information available at the click of a mouse, so much knowledge previously only available to a select few intellectual elitists; so many opportunities, so much junk. And it can be yours today— all at the small expense of your retinas and physical ability.

But, I protest (a little too loudly), computers are different than TV, they're smarter, they do things, they're wonderful technological enhancements made to better my life. Television is just around to spoon feed me dumb entertainment, watered down news, and frighteningly unrealistic reality programming.

I pause from my frantic scanning back and forth between five or six open browser windows and glance at the stack of neglected books sitting on the floor next to my computer desk. Now, there's a format worth mimicking and never a "DNS not found" error to be had. I'm no Luddite. I will fully embrace the astonishing cyber revolution the editors of Wired have been promising me for the past seven years. And in the year 2001, I wonder how many of the statistics predicted throughout my lifetime we have broken and how many we missed out on. (Where are those damn flying cars anyway?) It's just that lately, I've found myself somewhat jaded by the hurry sickness technology has inadvertentlybrought us.

Within a finite amount of time each day— (only 1,440 seconds— where do yours go?)— we are expected to complete a never-ending list of tasks. Never fear: technology is here to help you. With time-saving devices from the cell phone to the lap top, we are able to complete said tasks in an infinite amount of venues. No longer is your work confined to that gentle cubicle. Brave the lap-top enhanced land of airports waiting lounges, coffeehouses, and more.

Yet for all of the hustle and bustle and all of technology's ever-increasing speed, there seems to be less and less time to spare. Now that email has made it faster and easier to communicate with everyone; people seem to communicate more. Which is great; unless your company, like mine, enacts a company wide policy stating that all emails must be replied to within 24 hours. Piece of cake, you may think. Tell that to our site editor- who gets over 300 email a day. Faster? Maybe. Easier? Hardly.

Of course, having typed this mixed article on my Pentium 3 powered IBM compatible machine with the looming 20-inch monitor, this quasi-luddite will email it off to be published in an online-only journal in firm faith that there are people out there who still take the time to read.

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