As in “there’s no such word as can’t” which is what school teachers used to say to ham-fisted girls like me when we failed to grasp the principles of calculus or (in my case) simply couldn’t sew. My grammar school had four houses named after Yorkshire abbeys, each with a house colour so – Byland (blue), Fountains (yellow), Jervaulx (red) and Rievaulx (green). In our second year of school we were to make gingham aprons in our house colour. Cutting the pattern out was interesting and my mother – whose own sewing skills were only impeded by fading sight – encouraged me. But seams, turnings, binding the bib – oh heavens to Betsy! I tried, heaven knows I tried but my father eventually rebelled against me muttering morbidly ” Oh, it’s all wrong!” – a phrase with which he teased me for the rest of his life – and the apron vanished, as my mother used to say, “under something” and was only worn a couple of times at home. I don’t know how I became this exception but gratefully, I did.
So, abiding though my interest in clothes is, I can barely hem, just about sew on a button, I darn quite nicely – and, when people talk about sewing, I say “I can’t” Nor can I drive (be grateful for that) or make pastry (hands like lead) and I have only grown mint successfully once. Mint is supposed to be foolproof, assertive, tough – but at my hands it died repeatedly.
And then there’s technology.“This picture shows how technology makes me feel. Technology is the bull”.
It doesn’t make me feel any better to know that I am not alone. I have a friend who became even closer when she admitted that a computer on the blink could reduce her to tears. I know just how she feels.
I learnt to use the computer because I had to. The best single side effect of technology on my work was email, which was invaluable – so fast, so appropriate – that I simply don’t know why people don’t acknowledge in a two to three day time frame. The new manners seem to suggest that you don’t reply to anything you’re not interested in, don’t care about or can’t be bothered with. And pooh to you too!
When a friend died leaving all sorts of names and addresses and how she wanted them contacted, I learned to send emails anywhere.
When I began writing annalog, my designer and technical shaman said, “We need pictures.” I was initially taken aback but he explained that people like pictures on blogs so I located and channelled my inner art director. All those years – of saving images, collecting books of photographs and pictures, keeping cuttings – was obviously preparation. I learned to find pictures, to find the ones I could reproduce, to copy, paste and send them. Kids’ stuff, you say?
Not to me.
I learned to control the layout to some degree and more than that, I remain pathetically grateful to Linda and Dee without whom I couldn’t manage. So when one of the computers (not mine) had a bug and mine promptly developed a sympathy headache, I wound up very much like the drawing that accompanied last week’s no-show i.e. tearing my hair out.
Technical support from my internet provider was (a) willing but not helpful and (b) helpful but on going. The people who teach me best re the computer are all blessed with extraordinary patience, their shared mantra being “Say it again and again, AR will get there” and while those of you who are so much more au courant with all this are shaking with laughter, I would like to point out that so far the computer has been treated much as men treated a recalcitrant radio or tank 50 years ago i.e. kick it and spit behind it!
And we aren’t home and dry yet.