No thanks to Hewlett Packard, my Luddite adventure is over. After a week of struggle, the old laptop functions again. Did western civilisation crash during my cybersabbatical? Apparently not. I am late finishing a translation, drafting an interview and designing a new web site. In the grand scale of things, this is minor stuff. There are three laptops in my household. It should have been simple to borrow one from Junior or from Beanie and the Cats. Truth is, I like my own machine. It has all my templates, all my bookmarks, all my data arranged to suit me. I preferred to wait for it to be fixed. My week away from the cyberworld gave me the opportunity to examine my love-hate relationship with gadgets. I must confess that I depend on my laptop more than I like. There are attenuating circumstances–I live in a society that cherishes technology. Reverting to quill and carrier pigeons would marginalise me more than I care to imagine. No woman is an island and technology is the archipelago that, in great part, connects me to the outside world. In this, I fear, I am not alone. We are a nation of nerds–a world of nerds, actually. We communicate by e-mail and we connect through blogs.
Where are the corn huskings and quilting bees and barn raisings of yesteryear? Perhaps the knitting groups will replace them. Theoretically, I live in corn husking country. I like to think that in village folks still get together to share a meal, trade news, offer mutual support. Failing that, we have a respectable number of number of volunteer caregivers to help those in need. But as in many First World communities, we tend to sort ourselves into groups whose age, acquisitive power and marital status, sexual preference, education, are similar to ours. It is only natural that commonality influence one’s choice of friends. My concern is that that we may end up by filtering out all but mirror images.
Knitting groups are a refreshing change from the way we First World folks usually socialise. They seem to transcend age, class and other artificial barriers we raise in our quest for sameness. Perhaps in time there will a return to barn raisings and corn huskings. Then I will dump my laptop and invest in carrier pigeons. For now, I will just enjoy being back online.

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