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I don’t like the Kindle. Hold on now, I’ll tell you why.

I love reading. I’m a book lover. I love books. Therefore, I do not like the Kindle. I’m not saying that if you love books that you shouldn’t like the Kindle, I’m just saying that I don’t like it. I haven’t liked them for a long time. I had considered the iPad, but realized it’s generally used for the same thing, books, and is an oversized iPod, so what’s the use?

A Kindle costs upwards of $200, then you have to pay the for each book you want to read. They generally cost about $10, which I know is a good deal, but you have to count the $200 you just paid on top of that. I think it’s a waste of money. Like the iPad for instance. You pay for the iPad (which costs up to $500) then you have to download an app, and download each book you want. I can understand the appeal of it. It’s a neat little gadget, but I prefer to be holding a book. Think about it. You are going to take your iPad or Kindle with you on a flight, but if your flight is shorter, you can’t even turn the thing on to be able to read said book because “All electronic devices need to be turned off.” So, how are you going to spend your time? Even if your flight is only 42 minutes, like mine just was, that would seem like an eternity if you have nothing to do and noone to talk to. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t generally talk to people I don’t know, especially when I’m on a flight, unless theres a good connection there. I’m shy, I can’t help it. I have a hard time getting started on conversations with people I don’t know. Even if I do say something, it’s generally along the lines of just being friendly than actually trying to start a conversation. The conversations are awkward on my part because I never know what to say. Thus, I always bring a book with me whenever I travel.

I almost feel like it would hinder my reading activity if I didn’t have a book readily on hand whenever I travel, and it would mess up my routine when I went to bed at night. What if I wanted to read a new book, but had no internet connection to buy a new book? I always read before I go to bed too, but I don’t feel the need to power up an electronic device to read my book. I like buying funny little book marks, I like looking at the artwork someone took the time to draw or paint and was then honored with it being put on the cover of a book, and believe it or not, I actually read the “about the author” part at the end of the book. I like the previews they give you of the next book in the series, I read those too. It builds up the anticipation for the next book.

I get it, the books are cheap, usually, whenever you want to download another, but where’s the satisfaction? Where’s the folding down the pages, or the neat bookmarks? It might seem silly to you that I hold such simple things at a high presitge, but I love it. I love the smell of books, I like actually holding the book in my hand, and even though it irritates me, I love when the pages, or the covers get folded, when there’s the ever so slightest bit of water damage to the book. I have the first Harry Potter book that is almost done, in a physical sense, but I can’t get rid of it. To me the fact that the book is falling apart it says “I’ve been used. I’ve been read. I’ve been loved.” Through all the water damage, and the bent pages, I can’t seem to replace any of my books. I own half a series in paperback, the rest of the series in hardback, but I can’t replace the paperbacks because they were the first.

I enjoy it. Period. I don’t want anything to take that away from me. I don’t want this world to come to the point that we aren’t able to read if we can’t download the book. I don’t want us to get to the point that we can’t write another book without a computer. That also may come across as strange, since I’m using the internet to express my thoughts, but I’m actually writing a book. I’m using actual paper and an actual pencil. I feel like it’s mine. I don’t want technology to take that away from me.

It worries me that one day we won’t even rely on paper anymore and all we’ll use is the internet as a form of communication. Nun of us will even b able to speak rite b/c well all b typing like dis. (It pained me to type like that…just saying). We don’t have chain letters anymore without e-mail. We don’t communicate unless it’s through Facebook, cell phones, texting, and Skype. AGAIN, don’t get me wrong, I love my cell phone, and I love Skype. It’s helped a lot since this is the first time I’ve ever lived this far away from home, but I tried setting up a system with my sisters that we’d send a notebook around to stay in touch. I started this in February, and I have yet to get the notebook back. It’s sad really. We don’t send each other written love letters anymore.

There’s something almost romantic with the idea of hand writing a letter. It brings us back to a simpler time when we didn’t have the problems we have now. When we didn’t have the technology that we have now, when we had to wait weeks or months to hear from the ones we love. The anticipation would build, and the arrival of the letter would be that much sweeter. With the simple introduction of the internet came the long drawn out (eventual) death of the written word. Chat sites were invented, cell phones and texting came long, and the Skype followed. I’m not hating on Skype, as I stated earlier, I love skype. It’s helped. Without Skype I wouldn’t be able to talk to my hubby so easily when he deploys, but we’ve been spoiled. I have a feeling a lot of people would say their lives were over if the internet went down. If cell phone companies crashed, towers no longer received signals, their lives would be over. Why? We used to be the hunting/gather type of folk, and now all the sudden we’re spoiled with the blessing of technology. We took a bite of the forbidden Apple(c), and now, there’s no going back.

I’ve been told that a lot of teachers in grade school don’t even both correcting their students when they misuse language or mispell a word. They just say “do your best.” So the future awaits us with people that will be using “ppl” instead of people, “u” instead of you, “prly” instead of probably, “cuz” instead of because and whatever other various abbreviations you can think of. Maybe the Kindle thing and the grammar thing are totally unrealted, but I feel like they are related. It gets to me on a personal level that maybe it shouldn’t.

I’m not real tech savvy. I had to have the hubby turn on and set up my iPod when I opened it on Christmas day. A woman came through my line at work, I asked her to enter her e-mail address on the pin pad. She looked at me like I was dumb, and I said “Isn’t that what it is? I guess I don’t know what else to call it. That thing” and pointed to where she needed to enter her e-mail address. She was still looking at me like I was dumb, I laughed a little thinking she was joking, but she then said “My frigging 9-year-old knows what this thing is called are you kidding me? You’re not pulling the veil over my eyes, sweetheart. Nice try though.” I laughed uncomfortably and told about the iPod situation on Christmas. How I hadn’t quite joined the 21st century yet. I still had a crappy phone. I’m not very technologically inclined. She laughed at me in a sarcastic way and said “Yeah…okay. You’re telling me you’re in your early 20’s and don’t have any of those new gadgets. You’re full of shit and I know it. My fucking 9-year-old know this thing is called a touch screen and you expect me to believe you don’t?” With a very straight face, I told her “Yes, I do expect you to believe it. I’d be more than willing to show you the phone I have, the car I drive, and the certificate that says my iPod was purchased in December 2011. I didn’t have a lap top until a year and a half ago, and up until 2 years ago, I still had a box TV.” She just shook her head, and still didn’t believe me. Still noting the fact that her young daughter knew more about new technology devices than she did, and this woman was older than me; therefore, I should know more about this stuff than her daughter.

But what does that say about her parenting? That she relies on technology to watch her daughter rather than spending quality time with her? That she’s rather let the TV, iPod and computer keep her child occupied than tell her young daughter to go play outside? We had no choice in the matter when I was growing up. We had a limited time on the computer, and limited time to the TV. The rest of our time was to be spent doing our home work, playing outside, practicing our instruments, reading, etc. We weren’t allowed to just sit in front of the computer all day and waste time. We weren’t allowed to just watch TV all day. We had chores and real friends that lived outside of the computer. I spent so many nights during the summer riding my bike to the nearest park and playing until the street lights came on. We were forced to have a life, and damn it, I’m grateful for that. I’m glad they made us play outside. I’m glad they forced us into chores, and into the mud. I’m glad I didn’t grow up feeling entitled to everything.

The hubby and I have discussed what will happen with our children when we eventually have them. They won’t have cell phones until we feel like it’s necessary, and when they do, they won’t have texting and they won’t have a smart phone. They’ll only be able to call certain numbers. They won’t own an iPod for games and music and whatever else until we feel like they’ll be old enough to handle it without it being a distraction. Personally, I won’t let them own a Kindle unless they can save up to buy one themselves. I’d rather go out and spend money on actual books, something they can pass down essentially. I want them to appreciate the amount of time that went into writing it and printing it. I know these authors are making money off the books that all these people are buying, but as an author, I’d be more flattered if someone bought the actual book rather than someone spending the 99 cents to $10 on an iPad.

When the iPad was first released, I was curious. When Rapid City got bombarded with the Kindle at Borders (now Books-A-Million), I couldn’t help but play with it. My friends and friends’ parents own them, and I’ve played with those, too. Like I said, I see the appeal, but I don’t know that I could ever get myself to physically own one. My hubby, not being a reader like myself, doesn’t quite understand my personal uproar about the Kindle. My oldest sister requested a Kindle for Christmas this past year, and I told my parents and other sister that I didn’t want to participate in puchasing one for her. We decided to get her something else, but I realized later that I probably would have helped, even unwillingly so, because it would have made her happy. At the time I was outraged by the fact that she, a high school English teacher, wanted one. In fact, I remember calling her and starting off my conversation with “I can’t believe you want a Kindle! You’re an English teacher! You make your students read! How could you want a Kindle? I feel like you’re going against everything you teach.” I discussed it with her further, and she didn’t see the problem with it that I do, or see my point. She believes that libraries will still stay open, people will buy books, and there’s no problem. I don’t see it that way. I can’t help but feel like the deeper into this technological facsination we have, the more it creates an intellectual problem for our society. (I’m about to make a movie reference so bear with me.) One of my favorite comments from I, Robot, was said by that one guy (who’s name I can never remember but I know I’ve seen him in plenty of movies) to Will Smith’s character. He said “I suppose you would have simply banned computers to keep the libraries open.” And every time I watch that scene, the one where Will Smith sneezes and tells the guy he’s allergic to bullshit…you know the one I’m talking about, I always think “I would be that person. I would be the person that would ban certain types of technology to keep libraries and printing presses open.” I can actually see myself involved in a protest to keep things like that alive and openly available. To keep our kids from relying on something that, in essence, is flaky.

I saw a commercial one day about the Kindle. A man and a woman were on the screen, the man holding a Kindle, the woman holding a book. She preached to him about the importance of books, but in the end, gave in and took the Kindle from him. She so easily gave up her stance about how books are wonderful, and gave into technology. Is this a testament to how easily we’ll give up everything we stand for, for a new piece of technology? Or was this just a stab at women being flaky? OR was it really just “the Kindle is awesome”? It was probably that one, and I’m over thinking it, but whatever. We’re too fascinated by “the new fad.”

I remember when I was in middle school and the highlight of my day was passing written notes to my friends, and awaiting the next written letter from my oldest sister in the mail. If we keep going on the path we’re on we’ll have millions of people out of a job. Dont’ know what I’m talking about? I’ll tell you – the Post Office…and almost every newspaper and magazine we have in this world. My father has told me countless times that there’s next to no mail because no one wants to mail anything anymore. Everyone wants to take care of their business on the interweb. Newspaper sales are down. How sad is that? We’re willing to risk people’s jobs for the new fad. If you don’t want to look at it that way, don’t, but I think it’s the truth. We would just rather not accept that because it’s a negative truth.

Back in December, I wrote my husband a letter. Not an e-mail. An actual letter. An old-fashioned love letter for him to get on our wedding day. Me professing some of my deepest thoughts to him and how much I love him. If I could challenge any of you to one thing, it would be this: write a letter to someone you love. You may talk to them every day, I don’t care. Buy a stamp, mail a letter. More importantly, make it one of love. Buy a postcard and write on the back of it. Buy a “just because” greeting card and send it out to someone you care about. We spend so much time staring at a computer screen and typing things out. Why not take the time to express something to some one on a personal level. Think about what you’re writing and mean it. Second challenge: go buy a book. An actual book. I don’t care if it’s paperback or hardback, I don’t care what it’s about, but do it. This is where book clubs were born. Start one. Even if you go back to your Kindle, buy a book. Buy a magazine, a newspaper. Share it with someone. Take advantage of this before this luxury is taken away from us.

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