Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, today thinking about the large number of things I happily do without. It was a request to do a podcast via Skype that started me thinking about this. Turned out I could do the interview just as easily the old-fashioned way—over the landline. Len Edgerly, the interviewer, offered to talk me through setting up Skype on my computer, pointing out that the system itself is free. I politely declined. I don’t have family in far flung places. I am asked to do perhaps one of these podcast interviews a year. And, of course, if I were paranoid (who, me?) I’d be concerned about having a camera on my computer that could be watching me. If you’re interested, you can hear the podcast at http://thekindlechronicles.com/tkc-517-a-prolific-author-from-maine-kathy-lynn-emerson
What else do I NOT have? Let’s start with technology that’s been around for generations. I have never had and see no need for either a dishwasher or a clothes dryer. There are just the two of us here. I actually enjoy washing dishes once a day. Plus, it’s a free “heat treatment” for my arthritic fingers. As for the clothes dryer, they use a lot of electricity, present a fire danger if they aren’t cleaned regularly, and no matter what the dryer sheet people tell you, never leave clothes smelling as fresh as they will if you hang them up to dry in the open air. When I can’t use our clothes line, I hang clothes on a drying rack and a line strung across the spare room—the kind you can rewind when you’re not using it.
Alexa and her cousins? Nah. I’m perfectly capable of turning on the television, locking the door, looking up information on my pc, and so on without help. Then there’s that case where a private conversation was recorded and sent to a large number of people because the “I’m smarter than people” device thought it had been told to do that. Uh-huh. I can do stupid things all on my own, thank you.
I don’t even own a smart phone. It wouldn’t do me any good at home. We live in a “dead zone” so the landline is a necessity. The cellphone I carry in my purse is for emergencies. I’ve used it once to call AAA when I had a flat tire. I used to use it when I traveled, to call home from hotels. Since I got my iPad, I just use the hotel’s WiFi and send emails instead.
Now, see, I’m not a complete Neanderthal. I have a personal computer and an iPad. On the other hand, my cellphone is a flip phone with an antenna and I still use an old version of Word because I don’t much like the newer ones. Why fiddle with docx files when I can continue to deliver manuscripts to my editor and send guest posts to various blogs and so on in doc files?
Do you see a theme here? I was brought up with the philosophy “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Faster is just faster. It isn’t necessarily better.
We have cable television, something that at one time we didn’t think would ever reach this part of rural Maine. It provides us with New England sports and a good selection of free movies on demand. I tend to buy movies I want to see on DVD and watch at my leisure. I see no need for premium channels or streaming services. Of course, it could just be that I’m cheap.
As you can see, I’ve compiled quite a list of things I can do without, but I’m going to add one more: GPS. I suppose if I lived in a big city and frequently had to find unfamiliar locations, it might come in handy, but in rural Maine? Here, GPS mostly just gets people lost. Plug in our street address without adding WEST to U. S. Rt. 2 and GPS will take you about ten miles in the wrong direction and insist that’s where we live. It also directs cars up dead-end dirt roads with some frequency. I’ve been on trips a couple of times with friends who have GPS. In one case, we were heading for White Plains, New York. The GPS was determined to take us through downtown Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport (at rush hour) when I knew darned well that taking Rt. 84 would save both time and hassle. Give me a DeLorme road atlas or an old fashioned fold-up road map over that nonsense any day!
What about you, dear readers? What modern “conveniences” are you happy to do without? Are there some you’ve decided are more trouble than they’re worth?
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of more than fifty-five traditionally published books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award and was an Anthony and Macavity finalist for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category. She was the Malice Domestic Guest of Honor in 2014. Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries and the “Deadly Edits” series (Crime & Punctuation—2018) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” mysteries and is set in Elizabethan England. Her most recent collection of short stories is Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com and she maintains a website about women who lived in England between 1485 and 1603 at A Who’s Who of Tudor Women.