Working Around, Coping, and Generally Managing

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My mother was a master of the work-around in decades past: She could make a Kleenex tissue serve as a coffee filter. She used her freezer to keep from mildew the dampened clothes that awaited ironing during a busy summer. She learned to use plastic wood and screening to patch decaying paneling on our "woodie" station wagon. She figured out that home brew was cheaper than commercially available beer and learned how to make her own.

What occasionally surprises me is that the necessity of figuring out ways of working around problems continues into our 21st century. We are certainly living in a science-fictional age. The grocery-store door opens as we approach. We carry our telephones with us. I have a lightweight tablet that, though newly purchased, lets me carry in one hand the complete works of Mark Twain, the Bible, and 33 novels by P.G. Wodehouse. (I'm in the midst of the introduction of Psmith, one of my favorite Wodehouse characters.) My living room is a theater, complete with Surround Sound and impeccable picture. But that doesn't mean I don't have to go on coping with idiosyncrasies of technology.

My Verizon PocketPC cell phone (Model RAPH500) runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, bought because it has a pull-out physical keyboard and connects to the Internet via dial-up (so I never need a Wi-Fi hot spot), supposedly connected best through "Opera." Except that no one at Verizon could figure how to make the e-mail display properly. After six different consultations, I returned the phone as defective, Verizon sent a replacement - and Opera still didn't work. So much head-scratching. Until someone at Verizon pointed out that I could use Internet Explorer as one of the Windows doohickies, and it has worked just fine. Worked around, coped, and generally managed.

Yesterday, I tried to post two images of absinthe, photographed at my brother's home. One image gave no grief. Two images not only distorted the opening paragraph, they also changed the font. OK, one picture yesterday. One picture today. Had to put it at the start of the post, because it glitched the text when I tried to move it to this paragraph. Worked around, coped, and generally managed.

Airlines are making carrying luggage more and more complicated and expensive. So one box of clothing and such resides at Valerie's home. One box of clothing and such resides at Stephen's home. And I travel with a carry-on and backpack. Worked around, coped, and generally managed.

When we have colonies set up at the North Pole and under the mid-Atlantic Ocean, we'll have solved a lot of problems to do it. But we'll still need to have work-arounds, to cope, and to generally manage.


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