Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The First Call

The first phone call of the day usually sets the tone. When the phone rang early in the morning and informed me my daughter, who is several states away, would be undergoing surgery, I could tell it was not going to be a highly productive days. She was in the hospital but several of her friends, coaches, and teammates were with her.

Three hours later, I was called again and told everything was okay. Normally I think a vivid imagination is a good thing but not when my kids are having trouble. My imagination had a lot of things happening in those three, long, hours. Fortunately, everything went better than I had envisioned. Even though she did have some good friends with her, as a parent you worry – a lot. Long distant parenting is hard.

No matter how old your kids are, parenting has its rewards. No matter how old your kids are it also has difficult, anxious moments . . . whether it’s the first phone call of the day or not.

Technology Love

When tired and driving my mind does strange things. Stranger than normal I mean. Take the other night for example. It was really late and I was extremely tired when all of the sudden I realized I hated my tenth grade teacher, Miss Brannon.

Miss Brannon was in her late twenties, extremely attractive, and usually wore a mini-skirt. She spent weeks teaching us that by the time we were adults technology would cause a crisis for our generation. She was always dynamic and usually very animated in her presentations, making it even easier to believe.

The crisis, as she explained it, would be how to spend all the leisure time we would have as a result of technological advances. She convinced me, or at least I wanted to believe, that the average work week would be reduced from 44 hours to only 25 hours, all because of technology. She went on to explain that Colleges and Universities around the country were already creating departments of tourism and leisure - to help my generation deal with all our extra time.

Upon arriving home I pulled out my calendar and examined it carefully. My average work week was around 57 hours, not twenty-five. Why? Where was all the free time Miss Brannon had promised? Why hadn’t I been forced to call the department of tourism and beg them to tell me what to do with my free time? I spent the next few hours carefully putting together my “average” week:

  • Phone Calls – 6 hours
  • Trying to learn new software before you say screw-it – 9 hours
  • Trying to install “necessary” upgrades – 5 hours
  • Reports – 1 hour
  • Wondering what went wrong with my computer – 4 hours
  • Calling to find out what is wrong with my computer – 1 hour
  • Special Requests – 3 hours
  • Transporting computer to and from the repair shop – 3 hours
  • Meetings – 9 hours
  • Wondering where all those wires on the back of the computer are suppose to go – 1 hour
  • Learning new forms now being computer generated – 7 hours
  • Dealing with budgets on-line (of course) – 6 hours
  • Trying to pry open the window to drop the computer six stories to the street below – 2 hours

Suddenly I realized Miss Brannon had not lied! First of all, computers had indeed caused a crisis for my generation. Secondly, with 32 hours being spent on computer related issues, my average “work” week had been reduced to 25 hours.