Evolution as logged by a withering brain

23 10 2009

I have evolved.

I have evolved from a relatively smart human being who carried most important dates, times and appointments in my head, someone who regularly put pen to paper, a person who proudly kept a personal journal for thoughtful reflections on life and love, someone who always had a spiral bound notebook on her person for important reminders, notes and lists and even possessed, briefly, a Moleskine black book that served as a loving daily diary.

I was literate, and somewhat literary. I knew how to put a sentence together, and I mostly knew how to spell correctly.

Sad to say, that is no longer the case, and the delicious irony hit me again as I typed out that last sentence and my Word program corrected the words ‘mostly’ and ‘correctly’.

I’ve evolved into one-who-taps-on-iPhone for nearly every scenario I encounter in my dangerous existence as an urbanite.

I need to make a list? I tap out a note.

Need to find my way around a new city, or forgot where that store was on St. Laurent? Google map-it.

Can’t remember the recipe for banana bread? Safari – look it up.

Don’t have a radio handy to get the latest newsbreak from CBC? Use the free application I downloaded last week.

Met someone new? My address book is right there to enter the info – although I’m having trouble remembering who the third Ben is on my list, seeing as I was not sufficiently evolved at that point in time to tap in his last name.

New appointment? I must, absolutely must immediately enter it into my calendar – God, I don’t even know what I would do anymore if I had to remember an appointment.

Need a reminder to call someone later to set up that appointment? Email myself.

Sigh. How did my life get so digitized? My early resistance to technology was as pathetic as it was futile – I’ve made up for it in the years since with such a plethora of gadgets and electronic toys that you’d think I was an early adapter.

I waited for (a whole) two years before I got my first cellphone, and this after watching my father carry – or more accurately, lug – around one of the first models, one that would have also served equally well as a brick or a weapon. Once I got a cell I adapted to using it regularly right away, and from there it was a small step to my first personal computer, a 12-inch aluminum (can I get a spell check please?) Macbook, on which I began my first journal entries and started blogging – I didn’t know it was called blogging back then – as I took four months out of busy Toronto life to sail in the Bahamas and Cuba.

Once I climbed ashore, it was a small leap to texting rather than calling my friends, but I managed to make the shift. From there, the next big step in my evolution was from regular, run-of-the-mill cellphone to iPhone, the current tool I use to accessing pretty much everything except my toothbrush.

With all this evolving, I’m worried my brain is withering away. I might look hip, texting as I zip down the sidewalk, navigating by the little black phone in my hand. I might show up on time more often than I used to, I might remember your phone number even if I didn’t get your last name, my bag might be less bulky without a notebook or a Moleskine, I might be one of those people you look at and think, “gee whiz, is she ever busy, how does she get it all done?”

But I’ll tell you the truth: I can’t navigate without it, can’t write anymore in cursive handwriting, cannot honestly spell if left to my own devices, cannot store names, dates, appointments or important facts in my head, am paranoid that I’ll get something wrong if I can’t Google it right away, and would be utterly lost if – God forbid – I should lose my phone.

My brain has taken up residence in a little black tablet that fits in my back pocket. I have evolved, but I’m not sure my intelligence or memory is any better off for it.



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