Pen, paper, and the human mind vs computers

Have you ever felt completely helpless to do anything because of a computer program?

I’m old enough to remember well the days when everything was done with a combination of paper and ink and the human mind. Back then people had to count out change, the register didn’t tell you what you owed. You had to actually do simple math, and count the coins into the customer’s hand, then the bills. Anybody remember that, and wish these kids would realize that if they put the coins in your hand first, they wouldn’t roll off the top of the bills?

I digress. Today I met a computer program that automatically adds late charges if your rent doesn’t get paid on time. I am a fiend for paying everything on time, or early. I pay my rent online and for some reason this month it didn’t go through. Maybe I didn’t push that last button, or maybe there was a glitch, but it didn’t take, and I got a call from a young woman in the apartment office. I was very chagrined and paid immediately. The girl who called me said there were late charges that would be added. Are you kidding? I got on my high horse immediately. Reminded her that  I had lived here a year and a half and have never been late, and they needed to be removed. It’s a computer thing, she said. I asked to speak to the manager.

I told her what happened, and she was very nice, but said there was nothing she could do about it. The computer just adds the charges. I suggested that wasn’t good publicity, and she said it was like that everywhere. Apologetically repeated that she couldn’t do anything about it. I don’t believe that there’s no way to remove the charges, and am not through with this battle. But I’m going back to the old way, handing them a check and getting a receipt.

People aren’t individuals anymore. We are numbers, or cases. And computers magnify this. In the old days, it was much easier to right the wrongs of unfair late charges, because it was a matter of pen and paper and human wisdom and compassion.


I really want to write. I sit down to write and thoughts just muddle around in my brain. What do I think I’m doing? Who do I think I am? I have loads of great thoughts and profundities, but putting it out on paper, or a blog post, seems to be impossible.

I am satisfied with life at the moment, and it seems that it is harder to compose anything meaningful when things are just trucking along. I’m still settling into a new living arrangement, and it is going well, but I am lacking time for creative endeavors. I think about writing an autobiography, or a fiction book based on people I’ve met at my apartment complex, or a children’s book. I want to make beautiful paintings, or take beautiful photographs.

Then there’s exercise, or lack thereof. I sit all day at work and fear my body is going to change shape as a result. Three years ago I had a personal trainer, and muscles, and was running. I feel that my body is softer, and slower, and I fear the consequences. Yet -the motivation isn’t strong enough to make a big change. Or maybe it’s the weather – it is too hot to do much moving. I’ve gotta blame something!

What I really want is to figure out a way to have the income that I have now, or more, and not have to put in so many hours in a windowless office doing work that for the most part doesn’t really help people live better lives. I keep asking the universe, have taken one step this year into a business that is going no where.

I read all the time – articles about taking risks, and living a live that I won’t regret — but my training is in nursing, my life experience has been mothering — and I’m afraid to take the risk of jumping off the cliff into the unknown.  It’s a catch 22 – right now I need to go to work so I’ll have money to eat and live, which means I don’t have time to do the things I want to do. But if I didn’t go to work, then I wouldn’t have money to do the things I want to do.

Everything sounds so great on the internet — put your email in here and I’ll send you these great tips on how your life can change for the better. Then I have to spend time unsubscribing from useless lists, or being bombarded in my inbox by things that don’t help.

Anyone out there share my frustration?