Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mutual Animosity Society

You’d think, being an educated woman of the modern age, that I would embrace technology in all its forms. You’d think, being creatively minded and professionally curious, that I would ply technology’s riches for all that it can do to enhance my teaching, bringing the Stone Age or ancient Egypt to vibrant life under my students’ fingertips. You’d think that as a teacher with a reputation for excellence that I would celebrate the ability to use power-points and Smart Boards and spreadsheets to organize the many lists of kids I have to connect with year to year. You’d think that I would enthusiastically create video clips and special effects to raise the level of professionalism of my many theatrical productions, like the directors that I admire do so well.

You’d think.

The truth is, I HATE technology. I am afraid of it, and it knows. It taunts me, failing invariably when I need it most. I plan a spectacular lesson in the computer lab for students to explore the cave paintings at Lascaux, and the internet is down in my building which of course I don’t know until I’ve done the energetically theatrical introduction and said, with as much affect as I can muster, “And now, my darlings, we travel back and back to the dawn of civilization…ready…GO!” Dead air. Or, even if the internet IS working, what do I inevitably hear? “Mrs. Browne, my flash player isn’t installed.” “It says I’m being redirected…” “Why is the text all in French?”

I don’t even have an iPod, because I am afraid of them.

Even my printer, which I frequently call a Filthy Dirty Whore, only works for Patrick, who insists that it hears me say those things, and that’s why it quits me. Always when I have something I NEED RIGHT NOW, it taunts me, sputtering and clicking insolently, until Patrick just smiles and pets it, and then it’s fine. And it makes me bitter.

I refuse to choose shows that have any kind of required technological component, because they can and do fail, and because if they are not working, I have no ability to fix them. Anything else that goes wrong in a show, I can handle myself. I can stitch a hem on a gown if I have to, build a bench, paint a flat, collect a prop from a sketchy Walmart at midnight, but if it involves technology, forget it. Thoroughly Modern Millie, which I directed last fall, requires Chinese translation to be projected. Absolute plot necessity. I almost didn’t chose the show because of it, but choose it we did, and if you’ve been reading this for a while, you might recall my panic about that during dress rehearsal last November. (If I had a single ounce of technological savvy, I would be able to link last year’s blog entry right here so you could look back and read it. But I DON’T FREAKING KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.) And of course, because the buck stops with me, I ended up having to actually RUN the powerpoint during the show, timed exactly right to the dialogue, and all I can actually remember from those performances is my shaking finger over the space bar, my heart thumping, praying to Dionysus and Angel Matt to have pity on me, guide me, not let me ruin the show that I had worked so hard on for three months.

We were supposed to have a big Glee premiere cast party tonight, pizza and social time, and the internet/cable/goddess of tubes and wires has failed. Lightning strike, conductor something-or-other. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that I got everyone all pepped up, gleeful for Glee, went to everyone I needed to for permission, ordered bunches of pizza, and now have to cancel the whole thing, embarrassed and frustrated.

I hate technology ‘cause technology utterly hates me.

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