I have got excessively used to having a working computer at home and at work. I watch tv, I read articles, I listen to music, I write posts for my blog…I enjoy the noise of typing. I even quite like having an overly bright screen to stare at much of the time. The internet allows me to connect to vast numbers of people all over the world with the greatest of ease and I love that. I volunteer for TakingItGlobal with the Action Tools team and would be completely incapable of doing this without my little lappie and decent internet access.
For the past three working days, we’ve had a complete computer shut down after the work hard drive corrupted (by all accounts – as yet unconfirmed) and the backup appears to have had issues as well. Oh dear. I have spent most of three work days reading books at my desk, staring at a blank screen and wondering what I’m missing…and it’s been difficult. I get my news from the internet. The internet tells me that two sets of my friends got engaged today/yesterday. Congrats on that by the way guys!
Maybe it’s been that I was bored (i.e actually had very little else I could do) but it also made me realise I might be a little too used to having computer access.
One of my requests with VSO is that I be, if at all possible, based in a town or city, where I can get the large amount of human contact I need to stop myself from getting lonely and depressed. I’m not someone who copes well by myself, although I thoroughly enjoy my alone time when I want/need it.
For me it’s also important I can somehow connect with the rest of the world on a fairly regular basis and I know this will be both possible, and theoretically easy given the types of roles I’m likely to take on.
But I do need to seperate myself from my computer more often I think…so that when things fail and systems crash, as they inevitably do, I have a book to read and am not left feeling quite so lost.
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It’s something I have often dwelled on – is my laptop here my saviour or is it my downfall?
In other words does it provide company when there is none – or does it stop me from getting out and meeting real people?
I think what I have realised is how choosy we are (or at least I am) when making friends. That small group of people you hang around with back home, no doubt, has an awful lot in common with you.
But then you arrive somewhere in a volunteer situation and it is totally different.
In our small group of around a dozen volunteers in Bamenda we cover – European, North American, African, Asian, Australasian, Christian, Muslim, atheist,old, young, gay, straight, married, single etc.
What I am trying to say is… I like every last one of them but as it turns out none of them are going to be my best buddies. I’ve enjoyed their support (and hoepfully reciprocated it) and enjoyed their company but much beyond our weekly Friday beers meet up I am probably not going to seek them out.
And what is true of them is also true of Cameroonians. I am yet to meet someone I don’t like – but I am also yet to meet someone whose company goes beyond polite or superficial.
I’ve never quite managed to find a beer buddy – guy company that I can relax with. Nor romantic company either.
I’m not sure where I am going with this except to say…. don’t decide too much in advance re computers and company and getting out. Just do what you have to do – and don’t beat yourself up over it.
I think part of my problems in my early days was staying in and surfing the web in the evening and watching DVDs felt like such lazy behaviour – but sometimes that’s just what you have to do. It’s not safe to go out or there’s no one to meet up with – or there’s no one you want to meet up with enough to make the effort.
Yeah..just do what you have to do.