The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Day in One Era or Another

There are some fundamental differences between men and women. Besides the obvious, I mean. For instance, when a woman says that what she did today was sort of putter around and have fun, she usually means something like this:

Or this:

Or even this:

(Like how I just worked in all the rest of those homemade scrub pictures? Oh, and the background on that last one is Mr. K's of them. I swear my kitchen doesn't have a cement floor although, given my inelegant style when it comes to challenging tasks such as holding a single egg without dropping it or pouring a beverage and actually having it ALL land in the glass--or a barrel, for that matter-- it's possible that this might be a better option.) Meanwhile, if a man tells you that what he did today was "putter around and have fun", he might well mean something more like this:

This is one of the huge trees in our side yard and I'm pretty sure it was standing upright when I left for work, so can only assume that it fainted at some point during the day. Clearly, the faint did it no good whatsoever.

In truth, the tree in question is the one that viciously tossed it's top 20 feet of trunk like a javelin at the car in December and, given that the estimates for repair are upwards of $2000, I can see why Mr. K might have held a grudge against "Toyota Bane", as it has come to be known. Here's another difference: he called and explained to me about the tree being cut down and then added cheerfully "It's a really big tree. I'm glad it didn't come down on the house." Come down on the HOUSE? Was that an option?! I think a woman would have understood that less is more in such situations, and simply said "Yep, it came down without any problem, just like I knew it would due to all my careful preparation."

So, how was your day? Aside from the fainting tree, mine was more or less uneventful. I am, of course, still training at my new job and spent much of the day learning the finer points of the electronic medical records system that this particular office uses. Instead of a paper chart, we carry around computer tablets that we type on with a little handheld stylus. This leads me to two conclusions: 1) the inventor of the computer tablet with tiny handheld stylus is a rat bastard with the vision of an eagle and the fine motor skills of someone weaned from infancy on computer games (probably has even his bathroom breaks computer programed...and let's not make any joystick jokes here, mmkay?) and 2) I am significantly older than seems possible. Check it out:

When I was a kid, the first ever computer resided in a big important building somewhere, and it was the size of an entire room. A big room. It was terribly hot and noisy and very delicate. Very few people in the world knew how to program it. Now I'm walking around at work with a little flat computer the size of a file folder on one arm that holds all the chart information of hundreds of patients. Thousands. I can fax prescriptions with it. The doctor and I can look at it at the same time in different rooms. And yet, I catch myself drumming my fingers impatiently if it takes 10 full seconds to load the file I want. At home, I panic if the internet function is down. At home, I have three computers, one of which is only a couple of inches thick. I cannot recall what it was like to not have computers at my fingertips (or stylus tip). But wait--there's more.

When I was a kid, there were no microwave ovens. Not a one. And when they did come out, a number of manufacturers tried various techniques for getting their products to look brown when they came out of the microwave. They generally looked orange. Tasted orange, too. Now if the microwave were to give out, it would be a disaster of epic proportions. For one thing, we'd have to become vegetarian due to the fact that I would likely never remember to get the meat out to thaw in time for dinner, and thawing it under my arms is both distasteful and uncomfortable. Not to mention ineffective.

I learned to type in high school, on an IBM Selectric typewriter. We used carbon paper to make copies, and we used white out when we made errors. I typed 93 words a minute with accuracy. Now, thank to modern miracles like Word, I can type about 100 words a minute, and 76 or so of them will be wrong, as well as most of the spacing. I've met teenagers who have asked me in all seriousness what a typewriter is. Or carbon paper.

We had three tv channels when I was little--channel 2 (KREM), channel 4 (KXLY) and channel 6 (NBC). We had a public tv channel on number 7 (PBS) but rarely watched it because we were too busy watching sitcoms with uproarious laughtracks (for the record, I love public television these days--I'm not a total heathen). Now I have 100+ channels, and most shows have no story or plot, but feature someone like the irritating guy down the street, now getting paid to irritate the whole country. The main impact I've noticed is that it now takes me longer to realize that there's nothing but crap on tv. Thankfully, remote controls do speed this process up a bit.

We used to have a telephone with a dial that we rented from Pacific Northwest Bell. We didn't even imagine a wireless phone or how it might work. Now I hyperventilate if I leave home without my cell phone because heaven knows I don't want to miss an invitation from my bank to look at their new mortgage program. And, even though one of the cool things about the phone was that you could talk to people far away instantly without the hassle of spelling things out with a telegram, we've come full circle now and are staring intently at tiny buttons so we can text message someone.....with the tiny telephone that we could have used to simply call them.

Anyone else feeling ancient? How about this, then: I've never owned a record in my life. Tapes and cds, yes. No records. And even my car has the capacity to play 10 of my cds without batting an eye...or headlight, as the case may be.

Okay, I can't take any more. I'm starting to feel like a time traveller, and the pleistoscene era is calling me. I think I'll go spend some time with my specially programmed, rumbling comfort station, equipped with face smearer and cervical, telescopic pat receptor technology:

It can be a bit temperamental but, once you get it going, it works for hours.


  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    I had records...lots and lots of vinyl records...albums...lots of them,.... oh yeah, still do!!! where's my turntable? ack.

  • At 4:03 AM, Blogger lisalouryan said…

    Boy, memory lane.

    I did own records and we actually still have a collection - which my husband is in the process of downloading onto our computer so that we can put them onto our MP3 players or iPods!!

    My first ever record was John Denver's Back Home Again. Ah the fond memories!!

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Dude, when I was a kid we went on vacation in a full-sized Ford van that maybe had seatbelts in the front seats (I know it didn't have them anywhere else) that had an 8-track player! My parents listened to great stuff like Abba, Neil Sedaka, and Roger Whittaker. My lone contribution (purchased with long-saved allowance) was the soundtrack from "Every Which Way But Loose." Yeah, the one with Clint Eastwood and the orangutan...not one of my prouder moments. Believe it or not, I actually grew up to have good taste in music!

  • At 8:31 AM, Blogger Dana said…

    More scrubs; I love it! You really ought to be selling them on Ebay or some form of online store (Flo's Funky Scrubs). :)

    Your cat/pat receptor is adorable. I too feel my age now more than ever. The first record I ever wore out was Shaun Cassidy's "Da Doo Run Run" and the second, Pat Benatar.

    How are you holding up w/the allergy symptoms?

  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    Hmm... Did you guys think of talking to any loggers about that tree? 'Cause that looks like a good couple hundred bucks of board feet, there. Of course, I presume Mr. K wanted the fun himself, but we had an incident where a logging company literally went a few trees over the line (property line [g]), and after Dad took 'em to court, we ended up with several hundred bucks in the bank. Just a thought if you ever thin limb-droppers again!

    LOL'ed on the timewarp feeling. Hey, I learned how to type on a manual. (Uphill both ways--) I still have LP's. And a turntable. They have a lotta dust on 'em, though. And I learned MS Word back when it was 2.0 . ;)

    Love the comfort station! Don't forget it's self-charging, too, as long as it has that wireless connection to the power concentrate supply receptable! (Oh god... I could keep going a long time on this one!)


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