Alexis Powers: More and more, my life is inside a computer

2012-12-06T00:00:00Z Alexis Powers: More and more, my life is inside a computerOpinion by Alexis Powers Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Hearing that Windows 8 arrived made me laugh because I'm still using Windows XP on my computer. The last computer I bought I paid extra to have XP installed. New technology drives me crazy.

I learned to type on a manual typewriter that had a carriage return. When IBM introduced the Selectric typewriter without a carriage return, it took me several weeks to stop lifting my left arm after every line of type. That was the beginning of the technological age for me.

Time went on and preparing correspondence and legal documents became more and more complicated. Attorneys were anxious to try new technology. Computers enabled attorneys to revise, revise and revise without each page having to be retyped. The Mag card system was difficult for me to master, but I finally got it together. I don't remember what system came next.

Years later, at my last job working for a law firm, I was presented with what is the equivalent of a personal computer, similar to what I still use. That's when I learned to play Freecell solitaire which fascinated me, so I bought a home computer. Once I had the computer at home, I not only played solitaire but wrote my first novel, "Kiss My Tattoo."

My computer is my very good friend. I spend hours each day with this buddy. Not only do I still play Freecell, but I keep busy writing, playing bridge and Scrabble and emailing.

The extent of my daily physical exercise consists of walking my dogs, Charlie and Toots, each morning. I fantasize about joining a gym but instead am compelled to spend a large part of my day sitting at my desk, occasionally gazing out the window to watch the birds and wildlife but mainly concentrating on my unique computer world.

For years one of my great pleasures was to spend two or three hours at a bookstore, checking out the newly published books, searching for bargains and sometimes resting with a cup of coffee as I started a book I'd purchased. Sadly, I can't remember the last time I was at a bookstore. Instead, I read reviews on my computer, order the books from the library online and do a bit of browsing at the library. When I want a book to own, I go online and order it.

Because of my computer addiction, I've stopped attending some social gatherings. Instead of calling a friend to spend time shopping, I sit in front of my computer to find what I need. No wonder I've developed back pain!

For the last few years, I have become obsessed with playing bridge on the computer. Upon getting up in the morning, I turn on the machine. I can't wait to find out how my bridge scores fared the day before. If I've scored poorly, I am upset! I tell myself that these scores are not important. But they are important to me, no matter how I try to rationalize.

When friends call, I say, "Can't talk now, I'm playing bridge." Some of my friends get angry. Some of them now ask when I answer the phone, "Are you playing bridge?"

Has my passion for bridge become problematic? Are there drawbacks to this way of life? Has my love for my computer caused me to become reclusive?

Looking at the situation objectively, inside my computer is an entire world of people I've never met face to face. These are my bridge and Scrabble "pals." These folks are from all over the world. We exchange news about our families, messaging back and forth about lots of things. If I am away from home, I miss my artificial domain. In other words, my life has expanded.

But, honestly, if I have things to accomplish, it is necessary for me to turn the computer off or not turn it on until my chores are completed. Otherwise I am drawn back to my "special world" time after time.

I'm thinking of joining Computers Anonymous!

On StarNet: Read recent columns by Alexis Powers at azstarnet.com/alexispowers

Email Alexis Powers at northwest@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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