Kage Baker loved techno-toys. At the same time, she was suspicious of new technology; especially new tech designed to replace some piece of old tech with which she had a satisfying personal relationship.
Our computers were always firmly set to the “Do Not Update Automatically” settings: Kage wanted to check out anything the machine just spontaneously thought it needed. She was suspicious of the computer network suddenly demanding new programs – and after a few changes in IE and Windows, who could blame her? We went to an open source word processor as soon as one was available, and dumped IE years ago. Security updates were all Kage was comfortable letting in just on the computer’s recommendation.
Nor did she want a phone that did tricks. She didn’t really like carrying a phone anyway, and I think the number of people in her phone book maxed out at about 10. And two of those were local restaurants … she finally agreed to accept a phone that took pictures, but that was as high tech as she ever got. Even then, she kept shooting accidental movies of her own feet, with a soundtrack that always ran: “Hey, why is the screen moving?” The part of carrying a phone with which Kage was most concerned was the case. Hers was black leather, with a skull and crossbones picked out in rhinestones …
Me, now: I adore new techno-toys. I have already established a symbiotic relationship with my Kindle, and it’s been getting clear that I also needed a new, grown-up phone …
This weekend, my last in a long line of dependable little Kyoceras finally kicked the jam jar. My poor agent thought I was hanging up on her, because the phone kept dropping calls. So I did some research and all the due diligence I could summon, and now I am the happy owner of an Android Galaxy Victory 4G LTE. It picks up calls, its battery will last for days, it has full Internet capacity, tons of memory and power, and room for more apps than I will ever, ever need. It’s a new model, and shouldn’t be out of date for at least a fortnight. I now have more computing power in my purse than any of the Gemini Moon Missions and most of the Space Shuttle shots. Plus a thousand books. I could – dare I say it? – rule the world! BWA HA Ha ha ha!
So now I get all the fun of loading my contacts into the new phone, designating ring tones and screen colours, selecting a modest panoply of games and apps: I know I need a spirit level. And Plants Vs. Zombies. And crossword puzzles and a mahjong game. Then I can face the world with the necessary technological and cultural prostheses about my person.
Kage would be intrigued and faintly scandalized at a phone like this. But she’d also want to examine it, slowly and carefully and (if possible) from a distance using waldoes. And ultimately, I know she would decide she wanted one, too; if for no other reason but that she could pull up maps on it, and so send us further than ever into the great enticing Unknown. New Roads!
Of course, without Kage, I am lost a lot. I do have a compass in the Cruiser (Kage insisted) and with a way now to look at maps, I shall be better equipped than ever to get un-lost. There is no power on earth that will prevent me from getting lost in the first place, but it will be easier now to find my way to a familiar intersection or pizza palace.
It doesn’t fit in Kage’s old phone case, though. I shall have to make a new one. I’ll knit it out of black silk, and include an intarsa skull and crossbones in silver thread … Kage would approve.