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A Woman's Journal


A Room of One's Own

By Maggie Turner

Tuesday, February 15, 2000

A Room of One's Own


A Room of One's Own

There is one room in the house that is mine; it is "My Room". I have computer in there, two floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled two-books-deep with some of my treasured reading material. I have telephone, from which I pay bills and order library books. This room has been my haven and my peace for many years.

This has all changed with the advent of the LAN. Now the wires and cables of a small local area network dominate "My Room". The small computer network consists of an assortment of old computers I have collected and gussied up for domestic consumption. I share these computers with my fellow inhabitants. Attila only shows an interest when we need to research a particular topic or need to purchase an item. The real change is that "The Teenager" now considers a computer on the LAN and indirectly "My Room", hers to command. Often "My Room" is filled of an evening with four or five teenagers whooping it up in Cyberspace. "The Teenager" has installed Napster and discovered the world of MP3s. What to do, what to do!

I am a prisoner of my own conscience. You see I believe that in order to conquer technology one must be allowed to play fearlessly. I believe one must have the opportunity to follow one's curiosity. These types of activities require lots of time and unfettered access. I also believe that girls seldom experience this type of freedom with computer technology. At my house lots of girls, spend lots of time playing with computer technology. "The Teenager" is a social animal. This girl is always "connected" to other people, in person, by telephone, online. She feels that spending time alone is an abomination. She carries with her a flurry of social activity as does Linus his blanket. That is who she is. It is irony that Attila and I are cave dwelling social Luddites.

"My Room" has had a temporary increase in traffic and therefore an increase in the level of chaos therein. I do not do chaos well; it is not one of my talents. I will even admit to being a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to "My Room". Any true curmudgeon will tell you "it is the little things".

I am not mentioning any names of course. However, I must express my distress. You see I was sitting at MY desk when the telephone rang and I answered it. "I need to write this bit of information down," I thought. No problem, "I'll just pick up MY pen and write this down in my handy book of trivia sitting on MY desk." Alas, My pen was nowhere to be found. I had to resort to using an unsharpened pencil to write down the vital information.

Now, I just bought a BOX full of pens for "The Teenager". She had twelve new pens just last Friday. "Having so many brand new pens of her own she would not make a special trip to MY desk to remove MY pen," I think. Silly of me, and darned unfair, to suspect someone in such circumstances of removing MY pen from MY desk.

Attila seldom feels the urge to write anything down; when he does, it is usually with an old, worn down pencil stub on a torn-off bit of cigarette package. Attila has not been known to enter "My Room" unless I am there, available for clever conversation. In the past, if Attila desired the use of any of my belongings he asked, I handed it over, he returned it. However, a complete change of character may have overtaken Attila over the last twenty-four hours. He may have become a ruthless kleptomaniac without my noticing. It is possible that Attila took MY pen from MY desk and has not returned it.

Then there is my memory. I have been known to mislay an item from time to time. Perhaps MY pen is at the bottom of the laundry hamper, buried in the front pocket of a soiled pair of overalls. My pen may be sitting beside the telephone in the kitchen or beside my favorite chair in the living room. The bedside table, with its pile of ever so important junk, might be hiding MY pen from sight.

So far this month I have "lost" four pens. I tell you this lest you think I am obsessed or perhaps reacting in a hysterical manner to a missing pen. The latest missing pen was carefully chosen to be traceable. MY pen is green. There is a logo written on it. We only have one pen like it. I am waiting to see just when and where MY pen reveals itself. In the meantime, I am not mentioning any names.


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