The happy luddite

Pen in hand I pause, tongue creeping out over my bottom lip in concentration (a McLean trait), and try to remember what the hell it was that I was about to write down.

I’ve been doing that for the past week or so, transcribing lists from notepad to notepad, striking out completed items with slightly too much fervour, and replacing each one with another two things that need done, phone calls that returned and so on and so forth.

I spent 34 minutes on the phone to New Zealand the other day, an incoming call thankfully as I was at home. And then spent a further 10 minutes talking to two different people from the same place, convincing both of them that the matter was in hand and could they PLEASE stop calling ME and talk to EACH OTHER.

AHHH!!! I need to get the number for the company that replaced our fence last year.. that was it.

Some other items I forgot to note the other day, include my sister’s skydive on Saturday (for charidee), which I won’t be able to attend as I really need to get a haircut, take four boxes of crap to the dump, and another two to the charity shop, before I head into Glasgow to pick up some new shirts for work.

And it’s also dawning on me that I need to start considering what to pack to go to Spain (not clothes, BOOKS!) and there is the small matter of a trip to Hungary in May. It’ll be a relief to sit still for a while on Monday morning whilst visiting the dentist.

Anyway, this is all leading up to my main point. I think everyone is, or should be, aware that I’m a bit of a gadget freak, and whilst I have been trying to simplify things for a while, there is one thing that I don’t think I’ll ever manage to convert from the current lo-tech method.


Without pad and pen I am utterly, utterly lost. The past fortnight has been manic and it’s telling that, whenever I’m under pressure I go back to basics and start scribbling. The immediacy of writing and maintaining a list by hand isn’t something you can replace on a computer or PDA.

I know this is all obvious stuff but suffice to say that I’ve now made my peace with it… although that isn’t without it’s problems.

After all, pad and pen are still ‘gadgets’, right?


  1. Hg said:

    There’s an article that I linked a while back, which I’d find for you if I wasn’t supposed to be in my car right now, which says that if paper had been invented AFTER the computer we’d be hailing it as a revolutionary advance.

    Paper isn’t lo-tech, it’s evenhigher-tech.

    January 16, 2008
  2. wee sis said:

    no worries about making sat – Chris will be coming along with mum and dad anyway, waste of people’s time if it doesn’t go ahead like last time!

    I can’t live without pen and paper – I take after mum – lists everywhere! But when Chris write’s a food shopping list – I have to re-write it in order of going round the shop! the starting of OCD? or highly organised?! give Ollie a pat from me xx

    January 16, 2008
  3. cleo said:

    I’m the same – I work on computer all day long, and am perfectly capable of synching Outlook with my phone, but if I don’t have things written down in my diary then I don’t have a clue where I’m supposed to be.

    Personally I think it’s the process of writing things down that orders my mind. (oh – and I’m with wee sis – shopping lists must be written in the order of going around the shop, anything else is just way too confusing)

    January 16, 2008
  4. mum said:

    Making lists? – wno on earth do you take that from!

    January 16, 2008
  5. Gordon said:

    mumsy – I take lists from you, and (I guess after that typo) my technical abilities from Dad. :-p

    January 17, 2008
  6. Ian's Mum said:

    Started a list at 09.00 today! Am I doomed ?

    January 17, 2008
  7. donalda bint said:

    Actually a bit too high tech for me, for when it comes down to the nitty gritty of plans and ideas and working things out, a pen just won’t do: a pencil every time.

    I suspect this comes from primary school.

    I have to sort of splay my left hand in a way that is holding the paper in place, the tongue must be bitten (at the left side of the mouth) and one lowers the head towards the paper, bluntish pencil poised, and if I sort of get the feeling that my cuffs are going to get manky beyond what ought to be humanly possible, then I know the ideas are about to flow.

    Thank God that I progressed to the point of pencils, where there is still some street cred possible, previous to that it was evil non-crayola crayon in a Stork margarine tub, PhD with crayons, not good.

    January 17, 2008
  8. wee sis said:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one Cleo! Wee sis is called Jennie – think I’m usually referred to as ‘sister’ on here tho! right bro? 😉

    January 17, 2008

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