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Thursday, January 10, 2013

In which I reluctantly give in to the advance of technology

Deep down inside, I am a Luddite.  Not so deep down, or really at all inside, Brandon is a Luddite too. Which is probably good for our marriage that we both have those leanings.

I think my anti-technology leanings spring from various sources, one of them definitely being resistant to any trends, and especially popular trends.  I'm still halfway ashamed every time I pull out my skinny jeans, and I didn't wear them with boots until Brandon was in Turkey and so couldn't mock me for being so trendy.

Brandon's own leanings come from various sources, one of them being an inability to spend money without having blood come from his pores.  The other is a desire to live in the woods and eat squirrels in order to own as little 'stuff' as humanly possible.

Thankfully for my sanity, Brandon lets me be in charge of spending his money to buy more stuff, and only grumbles very rarely about having to haul all of it home from the embassy.  I miss the days when those packages from J.Crew arrived on my front porch and could be quietly squirreled away before Brandon came home to see them.

Neither of us own iPhones.  Brandon finally got a Blackberry from work when his boss forced it into his resisting, clawed hands.  I got my first iPod as a hand me-down from my father, which unfortunately got me hooked and necessitated a replacement when Edwin dropped it in the Sofitel Athens bathtub while I was glued to the TV watching riots in Cairo.

We don't own a TV.  I have the same cell phone Brandon bought me in 2009, the cheapest kind available at the local Mobinil shop in Maadi.  Since it has no camera, I don't even have to lock it up when I go to the embassy.  And although we own three computers, we have no tablets and have no intention of buying them either.  When we're on long airplane or car rides, my strategy for coping with the children's boredom is, well, to ignore them.

Like I said, Luddite.

So when I started bringing up the subject of a Kindle six months ago, Brandon wasn't too happy that the subject had been broached.  And I wasn't sure about the subject either.  I knew that eventually we would be a Kindle-owning family.  It's like they were made for the Foreign Service lifestyle where you count your possessions in pounds, and books weight a lot of pounds.  Throw in the long-term plans for homeschooling, and suddenly a Kindle is the only way to handle the text-heavy curriculum that we're using.

But surely we didn't need one yet.  After all, I like the physical sensation of holding a book.  I like having a shelf full of books to idly choose from without having to navigate an electronic screen.  I don't want my whole library to be destroyed if Joseph tries to copy his older brother's trick with the bathtub.  And really I just like owning the actual book.

But still.  When you're at least three weeks away from your next book in the mail, a Kindle starts looking really good.  And when you add in all of those books that you'd like to read once but not haul around for the next twenty years, it starts making sense.  And that need for school books is maybe closer than I thought...

But of course we can't get a Kindle through the pouch - no items with lithium ion batteries.  Brandon, in his deep and abiding love for me even looked into getting it delivered another way for a Christmas present.  But when the delivery costs half of the item itself, it's just better to wait until your next trip to the States.

Then I started corresponding with a family coming to post this month.  Is there anything they could carry over for us? they wanted to know.  At first I broached the subject tentatively with Brandon.  If  we wanted to get a Kindle, that nice family could... maybe... you know... bring it over for us.  After a few weeks of delicate hinting, I moved up to the next stage.  "You know," I told Brandon, "I think that it really would be a good idea..."

Then I told him that of all of the Kindles, the paperwhite would be my preferred choice.  Brandon pointed to the shattered screen of my iPod nano, "If this is how you treat your electronics, what will happen to your Kindle?  Remember that bathtub in Athens?"

"Ah," I responded quickly, "You can get such nice cases for Kindles!  And they're pretty leather!"

So a few days ago, hands shaking, I wrote the email.  Could they, if they didn't mind, carry a... Kindle... over for me?

I confessed later that day to Brandon.  Sighing theatrically, he rolled his eyes.  "Fine.  I guess you can get one.  But if I catch you neglecting your children in favor of reading trashy novels all day long, I'm confiscating that thing.  Do you understand?"

I meekly nodded my yes.  Two more weeks.  Then hello, trashy novels.


Bridget said...

Congratulations! The Kindle is perfect for living overseas. I promise. You will have access to so many more books now.

UnkaDave said...

We have a couple of the basic ones, a couple of years old, and they really are nice. They have made the obtaining of books almost too easy (warning).

PaulaJean said...

I, too, like reading a real book over a kindle. But when you life has to fit into suitcases, they start to make sense. Books are heavy.

Brynn said...

I'm currently reading your blog/commenting on my Kindle Fire HD. It's awesome and has survived a year of Reese love. Enjoy your new addition!

Brynn said...
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Tammy and Alvin said...

Funny timing - I read your blog entry and then within 5 minutes my daughter asked me to read her a picture book we checked out from the library entitled, Return of the Library Dragon, by Carmen Agra Deedy. (Evidently there is an original picture book, The Library Dragon, but I haven't read that one). This book is about an elementary school librarian who is about to retire and on her last day of work, Mike Krochip is sent from Central Office to put all the books in storage and create a "children's cybrary" with access to 10,000 books. A battle ensues! Real book or electronic ones? Totally made me think of your post.

It's a really cute book with humor my 2 year old definitely didn't get. I don't know if you'll ever be able to read it, but I think you'd appreciate it.

Enjoy your new toy!

kelley said...

I too am a reluctant Luddite. ALL of my friends have iPhones. ALL of them. When I finally had the conversation with my husband about getting one for myself one day, I sounded like a teenager whining about not fitting in with their friends.

My biggest push for anti-technology has to do with kids. I don't ever want to rely on electronics to entertain my kids. My toddler can work all cell phones and it kind of freaks me out.

Bravo on holding out this long. I admire you guys!