The Technology Trap

As I was riding the 43 to Downtown this morning, I suddenly realized that I’d for gotten my Kobo Mini at home. I was reading more of Clockwork Angels last night, and set it aside when I started falling asleep, meaning to return it to my bag in the morning.

I’ve been wondering why it is that when I worked on First Hill, I was never able to get any reading done during the mile-and-a-half commute, and yet now I’m getting so much more reading done during a two-mile commute. The answer, I realized, is the transfer in the middle. I start reading at the bus stop, put my book (or eReader) in my pocket when the bus arrives, open it up again during the bus ride, open it again on the tunnel platform, and sometimes open it a fourth time during the tunnel ride.

For some reason, the reading is better on the rides home.

This past weekend, I thew out several shirts and several pairs of jeans that I’d worn so much they were too worn out to donate to Value Village. (Most of them came from Value Village.) I was thinking, today, that it’s time to trim down my iPod playlist again – and get rid of songs I habitually skip over. After that, it’s time to box up all those CDs I never listen to anymore.

Yesterday, Phillip and I watched Cold Comfort Farm on Hoopla. It’s one of our mutually favorite films. Today, I decided that I wanted to read the book. I went to the Seattle Public Library web site. The library had 16 holds on 1 eBook, and 1 hold on 8 books, with copies available on the shelves. I put a hold on one of the books. I was happy that I shouldn’t have too long a wait for my book.

(It’s not like I’m out of things to read, actually.)

A friend recently cautioned me that technology can be addictive. I thought about that when I realized that I had felt some disappointment that I wouldn’t be getting the eBook version.

It took quite a while for the words “copies available” to sink in. Why hadn’t I thought to see if either the Central Library or the Capitol Hill branch had a copy on the shelf? Why is my first impulse to click the “Hold” button and wait to be notified of the book’s arrival? Is that a paradigm or an addition to technology?

The Capitol Hill branch had a copy on the shelf. I suspended my hold for a day, just in case a staff member acted on my hold before I got there.

I stopped by the library on my way home and checked out a copy of Cold Comfort Farm. I thought about using one of the library computers to cancel my hold, but decided it could wait until I got home.

I got home and discovered that I had no holds to cancel. I was impressed. Is the library technology so smart that it recognized that I’d checked out the same book I’d put on hold, and canceled it for me?

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