You might know I would be fond of words, so you won’t be surprised to hear I’m resentful when one of them gets a bad rap. Take the word “habit,” for instance. Some say the first of the New Year is a good time to break habits, but I’m concentrating my efforts on regaining the ones that got broken during the holidays.
How do you know where — or even who for sure — you are when your holiday calendar is all a-jumble for weeks on end? I want to expect my bridge ladies here every Monday, my reading group here the fourth Thursday and my trash picked up every other Tuesday. I want my hair/nails done on schedule, my church services when and where they’ve always been and my Christmas tree back in the garage where it belongs.
Call me a creature of habit, and if that makes me an old fogey so be it. When the necessity arose years ago, I put habit aside and eventually adjusted to digital rather than rotary phone dialing. I switched from boiling water on the stovetop burners to nuking it. I gave up my trusty old manual typewriter and advanced to the electric word processor, but grudgingly.
As time and new innovations marched on I left the comfort of habit behind and tried to keep up, but even now my cell phone isn’t smart. It doesn’t snap photos or remind me of appointments, and I don’t know a tweet from a twitter ... couldn’t focus on those tiny keyboards if I did. My much larger computer keyboard was hard enough to get used to, and I muddle along using only Word and Google on a computer that’s equipped to do everything a real writer could desire. What’s worse, I blush to admit I chickened out on Facebook when it got intrusive.
In full disclosure, I also confess that I — who am almost always lost — owned a Garmin step-by-step direction finder for about half a day before I gave up on the instructions and felt my way back to the store to return it. That figures. After all these years, I have yet to learn how to thaw frozen casseroles in my microwave. Not that it matters since I do know which heat-up buttons to punch, without which skill I’d have to subsist on sandwiches and dry cereal.
All of that said, in spite of my reluctance to alter my habits, shortly before Christmas I gave up Cable News and bought a machine that plays movies on Blue-ray discs that Netflix sends directly to my mailbox. Ah, brave new world! You of course have done something like that for years, but this Blu-ray business is a giant step outside my comfort zone, and it’s my friends’ habit to applaud my successes. I’m listening. Everybody now, on the count of three.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.