FASTER THAN A
15 April 2003
I've always done things fast. When I was a kid I ran everywhere (my
grandmother told me not to run--it was bad for my heart). I ate fast. I did my
school/homework fast. I read fast.
When I got into high school, I typed fast. I was in so many
activities that I was always running from one to the other.
I still eat too fast. I type fast. I don't take time to read
instructions, but just plunge into whatever I'm doing--too impatient to do things slowly.
I don't drive fast, but only because I got stopped twice for speeding (and managed not to
get a ticket both times) and it put some sense into me.
I never took up walking, even when I decided to start getting
healthy, because it was too slow. It took forever to get somewhere and I didn't have the
patience to enjoy the trip (especially when the scenery was the same all the time--walking
somewhere new is a different story).
It's why biking was such a good sport for me--I could get places fast.
My life has been speeding up since I began losing weight, and it
suits me fine. I used to walk on the treadmill at 1.8 mph, now I can make it almost to 4
mph. I used to bike at 9 mph, now we average between 11 and 14 on our morning tours of
It seems like I'm in a hurry to get everywhere, even if I don't know
where I'm going.
However, there is one area of my life where I've been plodding along
for a long time and it's been driving me nuts.
There was a time when just the joy of being able to connect
electronically with another computer on the other side of town was a thrill. Now if I
can't pull up photos on a computer in Africa in a split second, I get very impatient. It
wasn't so bad for a long while. I mean, I got onto the internet in the DOS days, before
there was a WorldWideWeb. It was such a thrill just to be able to download e-mail to my
own computer (at first I could only read e-mail on the server, but couldn't download it)
that who cared if you had to go eat a meal while one of the few pages of interest were
But then modems got faster and then came DSL and cable modems. The
first time I tried a DSL connection (it was probably Olivia's), I knew that sooner or
later I'd have to have one.
It's not so much that I've been resisting, as I've been
trying to rationalize the expense. But it seems that these days web pages are getting more
complex and take longer to download. And besides, I didn't want to have to tie up the
computer overnight just to get DVD movies of Rob
Hudson's daughter, Schuyler. I'd already stopped reading a lot of journals because I
couldn't justify the time just waiting for them to come in.
So last week I finally bit the bullet and called to make
arrangements to have DSL installed. Today. was. the. day.
I had planned to get the place cleaned up a bit (stop laughing, you)
in preparation for the tech's arrival, but I was loaded with transcription to do and there
just wasn't any time. I figured computer nerds are frequently not the tidiest people in
the world, and he'd just have to put up with me.
At 11 a.m., the doorbell rang. I opened the door and there stood my
Digital Doogie Howser, a little kid with peachfuzz on his chin and big glasses. I wasn't
sure if he was here to fix my computer or sell me tickets to the Boy Scout Jamboree.
We wended our way through the laundry piles and empty Amazon boxes
to my office and he sat down at the computer and furiously batted out some strange
language on DOS screens.
"You mean you have to download a program?" I asked.
He looked puzzled. "No. It's already installed on your system.
Everything seems to be working fine," he said. He seemed ready to give me
instructions on how to connect to the Internet.
Harumph. This kid was in diapers when I hooked up my first modem.
"What's the problem?" he asked.
"Welllllllllllllll....." I stammered, not wanting to
display my ignorance. "I thought it would be...faster."
He sighed, impatiently. "It's already as fast as you can get on
a dial-up modem," he said in a patronizing tone.
"I know," I said. "That's why I ordered DSL."
"DSL?" he asked. "You ordered DSL?" He looked
like he was about to whine, "Awww, Mom--do I havta?" But he trudged out
to his car and brought back The Box.
The box that held my DSL modem.
My path to speed on the Internet.
First we had to move the water cooler and he crawled around with the
dust bunnies trying to find which telephone line went to the FAX machine and the computer.
When we finally worked that one out, then I realized we were in big trouble. He had this
big plug. "I need a grounded outlet."
He crawled around through the spaghetti maze of electrical cords
that covers my floor and I finally told him he could disconnect the transcription unit.
Once he did that, he had his grounded connection, he zipped through a few speedy
configurations, and I was in business.
It was like he left a silver bullet behind when he hopped on his
tricycle and rode off into the sunset (Ok--so it was noon and he was in a car. Be quiet.)
I downloaded a slide show from Beechbrook
and it was finished before I'd written the 3rd paragraph of this journal entry. I followed
a link that Ned posted to Steve's
message board and found myself watching a Japanese cartoon in more or less real time.
CompuServe came up in an eyeblink. I thought about all those journals that I stopped
reading because I just couldn't afford the waiting time to go from journal to
journal. The world opened up before me once again.
I've now moved into the fast lane. I'm ready to roll, Baby.
I can hardly wait for the next movies of Schuyler to be posted.