Computers, And Sod Carriers

We’re in the process of replacing the office computers at our firm.  This week, the wave finally hit my floor.

I had been dreading it, frankly.  I’ve had my computer for years, and it did just what I wanted it to do.  Like many aging Baby Boomers, I was comfortable with the existing technology and not especially eager to move on to something new that I would have to learn all over again.  The younger generation at the firm, on the other hand, was keen to get newer products and integrate them with the tablets, PDAs, and other electronic gizmos they’re always tapping on around the office.

IMG_6132This week, as D-Day approached, I got a multi-page memo about what I had to do to get ready for the change.  I groaned, thinking it would be a huge hassle.  But as my secretary and I walked through it, with her interpreting for the Luddite as necessary, I realized I didn’t have to do most of the stuff because I wasn’t using much of the functionality of even the older computer.  I hadn’t modified the tool bar, subscribed to any RSS feeds (at least, I think that is what it was called), added a bunch of websites as favorites, or changed my desktop, so I didn’t need to do much to get ready for the changeover.

I was grateful that the prep process didn’t take longer, but also a bit embarrassed that I really wasn’t making great use of the awesome capabilities of my desktop computer — which tells you something right there, because most of my fellow lawyers seem to have ultra-thin laptop units that they cart around and set up at every meeting.  The laptoppers seem to be far more technologically comfortable and adept than the desktoppers.  It’s like the separation that occurred in the late Middle Ages, when a craftsman class arose out of the serfs laboring in the fields.  I’m still one of the bent-backed, sod-carrying group.

When I arrived at the office yesterday, to find a new computer with a Skyping camera on top and a headset (a headset?), I was filed with wonder, trepidation — and determination.  Maybe it’s time for me to get off the sod and become a silversmith before it’s too late.


We’re having work done on our new place that’s brought us into contact with some of the skilled tradesmen of America — a painter, a floor refinishing crew, and, thanks to a mix-up by Columbia Gas, a furnace technician and gas company employee.

IMG_4722I refer to “skilled tradesmen” because it’s impossible not to be impressed by the skills these artisans possess.  It started with our painter, who asked thoughtful questions to make sure he knew what we wanted, gave us solid deadlines and worked weekends to meet them, meticulously applied his painter’s tape to avoid drips and smears and used different brushes from his extensive collection as the work required, and finished on time and on budget.  It was obvious that he cared about the quality of his work.

The same has been true of the flooring guys, who’ve repaired some sections of hardwood floor, diligently taped off vents and cabinets to avoid dust issues, and painstakingly ground off the cover coat on the original hardwood floor without marring doors or baseboards.  Even the furnace technician and gas company worker who came to address our gas problem, on Super Sunday, were unfailingly courteous, competent, and professional as they used their inexplicable equipment and performed their inexplicable tests to first determine that the gas had been erroneously shut off and then get it flowing again.

It’s nice to know that there are still capable craftsmen out there who take pride in a job well done and the results they can produce.