“To be alive is to be dizzy and not to know exactly where to go.”
― Ander Monson
Turning my head to observe whatever mischief our cat, Giese, was into, caused the room to swirl and sway. My dance with vertigo had started the day before and was apparently not ready to call it quits just yet. If you’ve ever experienced the woozy, nausea-inducing symptoms of vertigo, you know what I mean. It’s a little like a hangover but without the earlier fun and resulting remorse.
I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish, but trying to do anything requiring head movement left me spinning. My husband pushed for a trip to Urgent Care, but I poo-pooed the idea. Bouts of vertigo have happened in the past and I know it’s a matter of time and designated, weird-flip-my-head movements to get the calcium crystals back in place. Besides, I was now the poster child for “having a few marbles loose,” and I wanted to grab my moment.
The sturdy, non-rocking, couch beckoned, and I succumbed for a short while. And by “short while” I mean all afternoon. Ah well. At least I could read and learn. Making Life Easy, by Christiane Northrup, is my current book of choice. I’m fascinated by spirituality and connections to higher forces, and Dr. Northrup does an excellent job of expanding my thought process. To reinforce her statements, she makes quite a few references to authors, their works, or historical instances.
When curiosity or confusion set in about particular data, I’d grab my iPhone. The formula is something like: Google, ask a question, finger flick on-screen options, read, and read some more. Done. It takes so little time to glean massive amounts of information.
Along the way, it hit me at how drastically life has changed. When the ink on my first husband and my wedding license was barely dry, an encyclopedia salesman dropped by our apartment. He convinced us any future children springing from our loins would be disadvantaged without the vast knowledge a set of encyclopedias provided. We really couldn’t afford the books but didn’t want small-minded kids, so we bought the set anyway…on a payment plan.
I think I used the encyclopedias as reference material the most over the years, although the kids made grand forts or tipped them like dominos once lined up on the floor. There is, after all, more than one way to learn!
Even when I bought our very first Apple computer, the encyclopedias remained an excellent resource for homework and fact-checking. But then, slowly, they became more of a matched set of books that looked nice on the shelf rather than the go-to information source.
When my husband and I were preparing for our down-sizing move a month ago, we decided, reluctantly, to give away the encyclopedias. To our surprise, NOBODY wanted them. Not Family Pathways, Goodwill, friends, or used bookstores. “Everybody uses the internet now,” was the repeated response.
With a sad heart, I boxed them up and left them for our garbage carrier to take. They had world history and my history between those black, gold, and red covers (and even a few pressed leaves!). It seemed an incredible waste.
And yet, here I was, mere weeks later, on a vertigo-y afternoon, iPhone in hand, looking up facts. It makes me wonder where technology will take us. Perhaps a chip embedded under our skin with a link that goes directly to our brains? Who will control the information then? Will we even know that other choices are, or are not, available? Will history be rewritten and more digestible?
My head started spinning again, but this time it was not vertigo.