Because you are a writer, you get out of bed, pee, start the coffee, and head directly to your office computer. No teeth brushing. No getting dressed (writers can stay in their p.j.s all day). This is because you aren’t disciplined enough to eat breakfast and read the paper in less than three hours and you really do want to get that book finished and another dozen queries sent.
Over time, because you are not a disciplined person, your email sneaks into first place, followed by BING, because it has beautiful photographs – and news items. After an hour or more, you get to your writing, but soon it is time for breakfast and the New York Times, which takes up another hour and a half. You do not read it on line. The pop up dancing ads in the middle of an article drive you mad so you cling to your hard copy, i.e. the REAL New York Times, which sometimes lands in the bushes in your yard providing the opportunity for an early morning hunt, followed by drying the paper over the heat vents. By this time it is noon and your writing sits there like a poor neglected cousin. And it is soon time for your regular coffee date with an old friend, your counseling appointment, a board meeting, or your writing group (ha ha ha!).
On another normal day in the technologically dominated 21st Century, you open your computer and begin to print out a contract, but nothing happens. You change ink cartridges. Still nothing. You turn the printer off and back on. Still nothing. You call for technical support. After taking over your computer, the young man with a lovely Indian accent tells you your computer has been hacked by someone in Germany. 98% of your files have been corrupted. He fixes the problem. Several hours have passed. It will cost you $349.99 for protection. You cancel your current anti-virus contract because it failed to protect you against hacking.
You sit down to pay bills and find a charge for $198.48 from “Webnetworksolutions” that you’ve never heard of. When you call them, a woman in Florida asks what your account number is with Frontier. You say “I’ve never heard of Frontier.” She asks what is your phone company. You answer, flustered (it is still early), “I don’t remember but it’s not Frontier.” You tell her there is a charge on your visa bill for $198.48 giving their phone number and you did not agree to any service, whatever that service might be. You can’t understand her answer (you often cannot understand people speaking from your cell phone and long for the old land line—some technology improvements need improvement). You repeat that the charge is wrong and you have no account with Frontier. She tells you to call your Visa –or, at least, that’s what you think she says. When you call Visa to dispute the charge, the woman can’t find your Visa account, but eventually does. You say you don’t know anything about this company. She checks something, then says they are going to remove the charge. They consider it fraud. In one or two days they will send you a new Visa card with an entirely new account number. Then, you will have to notify every organization that automatically charges to your card each month. There are 11 of them. Notifying them will be your task for another morning – before writing.
You responded to a special deal to get DirecTV streaming for $10 a month for the first three months and $35 monthly thereafter. When a better offer appears in your inbox, you contact DirecTV and change contracts. They bill you for both. You call to ask why they have not canceled the first contract. After an hour and a half on the phone, they tell you they have resolved the matter. They haven’t. Next day, you spend another hour and a half on the phone with another person forced to do this work for lack of better options. The problem is not his fault. He sincerely wants to help you – and after 90 minutes he supposedly has corrected the problem. When you try to watch DirecTV, however, the screen flashes a message that you are unsubscribed. You contact DirecTV again. After a 90 minute on-line chat, during which you run numerous times between the TV in the living room and the computer in your office and repeatedly ask him to explain what he is talking about (you are computer-age illiterate), the technician tells you to call Amazon Fire and hangs up. The woman at Amazon Fire fixes the problem in less than 5 minutes.
Now you have time to drive 45 minutes to the doctor’s to figure out why you can’t breath and why you have a pulsing headache (brain tumor? aneurism?). They don’t know. You huff and puff to your chair, pop two Tylenol, and stick an ice pack on your head, while you read about the fall of U.S. civilization and the coming Fascism. Thus, ends a new normal day in the life of a sometime writer in the 21st Century.