Is the pen becoming obsolete?


I sit here typing on my computer wondering when the pen will become obsolete. Is the pen being phased out like the typewriter? Or a watch? With computers, smart phones, ipads, and Kindles, do you ever need a pen any more? What about paper? At least with paper you can type something on the computer and then print it. We send letters via e-mail and sign contracts electronically, so why would we still need to use a pen?

Dare I admit that I actually enjoy writing with a pen? Even worse, I like writing cursive with a pen. My boyfriend still has no idea how to read my cursive so all my journal entries are safe from him. He always thinks I am writing about him (as if I had the time). I would have the time, but I don’t have a watch. I love to write cursive in my college-ruled notebook with no computer or phone in sight. Is it possible that I am single-handedly keeping all the pen and paper companies in business? For some reason the physical experience of handwriting is different from typing on a computer. I know words still end up on the page, but there is a difference in how the brain works in each process and how the words come out. When I am typing I can write 90 words a minute. When I handwrite the words glide onto the paper much slower. Writing slow is not a bad thing when you want to think.

Maybe instead of wondering about pens going obsolete, I need to look in the mirror. Am I next? I may be going obsolete because I still cook in an oven (not a microwave) and I prefer french pressed or Turkish coffee instead of coffee from one of those fancy coffee machines. I am talking about those machines that can make coffee, fold my laundry and wash my car. I am not sure they do windows though. At least I am still good for something.

Another reason I became concerned with my obsolescence is that I recently discovered that my ability to concentrate on one task for long periods of time is disappearing. Hold on. I need to go put the laundry in the dryer. Sorry, back now. What was I saying? Oh, yes, I was talking about concentration. Sorry again, just one moment. I need to heat water for coffee now. Yes, back again. Where was I? Concentration is the problem. Actually the problem isn’t me. It is society’s inability to focus that is becoming the problem. Is a society with people who don’t have the ability to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time a good thing? Who will do research or design the next i-device? Who will be the heart surgeon? Can you tell I am worried about society going in a direction that is not necessarily good? I feel like life is moving too fast and there isn’t time to relax. No time to concentrate or focus. One might call it information overload. We get on-line and find ourselves bouncing around from e-mails to Facebook to an article about killer bees. How can we do this with such ease? Or do we? Is this hurting us in ways we don’t realize? Are we becoming dependent on information being thrown at us instead of sitting down and creating something or just plain thinking?

As I type this blog on my MacBook Air I wonder if I should grab the pen and paper sitting on the table next to me? Can I be more creative through the process of writing with a pen instead of using technology?  For now, the pen and paper industry is still safe because I love to sit outside or in a coffee shop and write with my Papermate Profile Elite pen on college ruled notebook paper. Maybe the ability to write cursive with a pen on my computer is just around the corner with one of these note taking applications. I can only hope that even if the pen goes obsolete, that thinking won’t.

These Shoes are for Working

Now that I am unemployed from my ‘work from home job’, I had reason to leave the house to meet a friend for coffee. I erroneously chose to wear shoes instead of ‘work from home’ flip flops. My feet were not prepared for real shoes since my delicate feet are accustomed to open and airy flip-flips. I am a bit worried should I need to take a job in an office where wearing real shoes is required. I am confident my feet can adjust, but I feel bad that I will need to put them through such torture.

Today I felt like the kid on the monkey bars for the first time who hasn’t had time to build up callous on his hands.
For me my pain (and blisters) were on the bottom of me feet. It isn’t that I don’t like shoes. I have many pairs. It is just that they haven’t seen daylight for years. Many shoes have never seen Arizona daylight, and have calmly waited for escape from the closet since the move from Oregon three years ago. As soon as I moved to Arizona, I started wearing sandals and flip-flops and I haven’t looked back (at the shoes) since. Are flip-flops a habit or a necessity? My feet sweat too much in regular shoes here, it is embarrassing. Especially if your nose gets too close to my feet. For me flip-flops are a necessity.

I know, I know, in the name of fashion I need to wear too tight, too high, shoes that make my feet uncomfortable and sweaty. The thing is that on most days I never leave the sofa (I mean office), so who cares what shoes I am wearing? If I do venture out to Starbuck’s, the grocery store or the daily drop-off/pick-up of the kids – my foot attire doesn’t really matter. Does it? Should I be worried about what people are saying about my shoes? What do my shoes say about me anyway? Will people not like me because of my shoes?

For today anyway, my black backless leather mules who got to stroll down Arizona Avenue said, “Wow, it is nice to be outside the closet!”. However, the shoes seemed to be ungrateful and punished me with blisters. The mules are back in the closet recovering from their outing, as my feet recover from the pain they inflicted. This afternoon I am back in my flip-flops who are always grateful and never give me blisters. For now anyway, my feet are getting a reprieve from the torture of working in an office every day. Funny how I am more worried about my feet getting through a day in the office than I am about myself. I definitely think my soul and my mind are stronger than my feet, at least until they can build up enough callous for real shoes.

I need coffee, but all I have is trail mix.

As we flew down I-10 heading West toward California from Arizona, I was munching on my trail mix and wondering why it is called trail mix to begin with. What is funny is that whether I am hiking on a trail or driving across country, trail mix always tastes good. Something about the crunch of the nuts and the occasional sweetness of M&Ms that permeates my tongue. Or is it that you get so hungry that any food tastes good?

Today I find myself eating trail mix for lack of other suitable nourishment to fill my palate’s desire. We just stopped at McDonald’s for lunch for “Happy Meals” in an effort to keep the kids from killing each other in the back seat as the hunger gets the best of them and takes over their personality. At the McDonald’s counter I approached confidently knowing what I wanted to order – 2 chicken nugget happy meals and a couple of milk shakes. I couldn’t bring myself to eat beef today and the fish fillet will probably make me feel worse than not eat at all.I am not sure I want to order anything for myself.

My eye catches a new item on the menu – a McCafe coffee drink. Considering we ran out of the house this morning (leaving the french press looking lonely and sad on the counter), I got the bright idea to order a coffee drink. My need for coffee was greater than my desire to avoid drinking coffee from McDonald’s. Although I had “heard” that the coffee at McDonald’s wasn’t that bad. I ordered a “Cafe Moca Hot”. My mouth was already salivating at the idea of getting some caffeine. (Strange how I suddenly found myself addicted to the stuff to begin with.)

Chris picked up the order and brought it over. Now the hot drink isn’t looking quite as appealing as the kid’s milk shakes, but hey, I will definitely feel better after the caffeine injection. I take a sip and this is the sweetest mocha I have ever tasted. And when I say “sweet”, I don’t mean that in a positive way. I begin wondering how much coffee was actually put in the drink, because it doesn’t taste like there could be more than a few drops of coffee…if any? I keep sipping it thinking the taste will get better, but it just doesn’t. My only salvation was the large order of french fries now my ‘lunch’ since I couldn’t bear to order anything else. I notice on the side of my cup there are letters “NF” and “HC: Hmmm..they must have given me non-fat instead of regular? Could that be why this drink tastes so bad? Just at the moment I am wondering what the “HC” stands for and Chris says “The receipt says hot chocolate, you know”. Apparently my order of Coffee Mocha – Hot was translated into “Hot Chocolate”.

I am not really surprised that there was confusion in my order, I mean we were in California, so I guess I was happy I got a “Hot Drink” and not “Hot Salsa”. I was really disappointed that I didn’t get the drink I wanted, but what could I do? I have to say, that it would not have been quite as disappointing if a 1/2 mile further down the road I hadn’t seen a Starbuck’s. So I didn’t get my beloved coffee, but at least I have this yummy trail mix.