You see stuff online — Facebook mostly — about “could you live in this lovely (log cabin) house (in the middle of really nowhere) without WiFi? And everyone says “Oh sure! I could live in that great little house — in the middle of a huge woods by a cold lake where the nearest shopping center is 50 miles on dirt roads — forever without so much as a VOIP phone.

Sure you could. NOT.

I know I couldn’t and wouldn’t even want to try. Because that’s not life or at least not my life.

There was a time when I could imagine a life without computers. I think that was before I owned a computer, before every house everywhere had one or many computers. Before every single thing in the house got “connected” and computerized in some way. Before your toilet got so smart you have to argue with it about the whole “flushing” thing. Before we had things in the house that you could talk to and would more or less would run your house for you, even if you weren’t there personally.

To be clear, I don’t have any of those super smart appliances because while I dearly love WiFi, if the power is out I need to know the toilet will flush anyway and the refrigerator will keep the food cold as long as I don’t open the door. I want to be smarter than my toilet or refrigerator. Call me crazy, but I like to keep at least one leg up on life.

Yeats in Sligo
Yeats in Sligo

But life without any computers? Without a way to blog? Oh, I suppose I could use a typewriter …  but what would I do with it after that? There IS no blog without WiFi. And my wrists would not thank me.

Can I survive without Photoshop and Topaz filters? Without a Kindle? Or a GPS?

That sounds more like death than life.  A computer is not just email. It’s all kinds of communications and these days, it really IS communications. Pretty much all communications is electronic in one way or another. Photography and writing. Paying bills, shopping, and entertainment. Games. Keeping in touch with the world and the people in it, without whom life would be incredibly lonesome.

So if I must have a life without computers, I am probably dead. Unless there are afterlife computers. You know, from Those “special” computers so the undead can keep in touch?


Daily Prompt – Life After Blogs:

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

It looks like I’m dead.

Yeats in Sligo
Yeats in Sligo

Buried too. It’s not just the blogging. The computer is communication, photography processing, writing (for any reason), paying bills, shopping, entertainment.

So life without computers is not life. Ergo ipso, I must be dead.

The Old Yarn Shop

In Old Williamsburg, there is a yarn shop where they spin and dye wool using natural colors typical of the colonial period. I loved the textures of the wool and wood, and the light coming through the open door and windows.

It was a good day for reflections and I captured something like a portrait of Garry and I in the glass door to the library. The sign is for a pub that has no name that I could find, so I call it Stag’s Head In a Pear Tree. I might be right, you never know.


Strawberry Jam in Springtime

I was 46 years old when my homemade strawberry preserves jelled properly. Probably what broke the barrier was overcoming a longstanding aversion to putting sufficient sugar in the mix. Alternatively, I could have solved the problem by adding tapioca starch or pectin, but I’m a a bit of a food snob. I wanted my preserves made of just fruit and sugar.

The day the preserves came out perfectly was the day my first husband finally died. He had been dying for a long time. It was a Friday, a rare brilliant spring day in New England. Jeff had been sick for almost a year, in what we politely called a coma, but which was actually a vegetative state. Now gone. I had not come to terms with it though I’d certainly had plenty of time. Probably no amount of time would have been enough.

Other than Jeff’s dying, it was a good time. Garry and I were happy. We were good together, busy with career and friends. Yet there was that underlying sadness we could not avoid, the knowledge that a death was near at hand.  Happiness and sadness don’t cancel one another. The good things are not a balance against pain. Feelings aren’t an equation. You can’t add columns of positive and negatives in your life and come up with a number in the middle. In the real world, joy and misery cohabit. We live with both together. Emotions are messy.

My head was a wheel of memories, a slide show carousel. Faces, places, good years, bad. Bittersweet, sad, joyous, funny. Strawberry jam that never jelled.

I married Jeffrey at 18 and thought myself very mature. He was almost 30, but he thought me very mature too. Both of us were wrong.  Yet we muddled through. We were hard triers. When we had no idea what to do, we faked it.  Eventually, we became the people we had long pretended to be and it turned out, not the people we needed to be for each other.

Though we went in different directions, we stayed friends. No matter where on Earth I was, I knew Jeffrey was there for me. We had a better divorce than most marriages. Decades passed. Jeff’s health deteriorated. He survived things that should have killed him, so what a shock he should die of the thing that was to extend his life. The heart surgery should have given him years, decades.  When Sue called late on an August evening reality upended and everything screeched to a halt.  No, his body wasn’t dead, but his brain was. The future world would be without Jeff. I would never call to tell him something funny that happened, hear his  sarcastic, drawling response.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Someone rewrote the script when our backs were turned.

Fall passed and winter too. Jeff remained in a vegetative state. Someone who looked just like him was wearing his body and that shell remained alive through the seasons. We visited. I stayed for weeks to help care for him. Finally, as spring was nearly summer, the piper played. And now, the ashes were scattered.

Just the other day, Garry glimpsed a someone in a crowd who looked just like Jeff.