Luddites vs. the Jawa

Apologies to my readers for not warning you that I was going to take Easter Sunday off of blogging. This was a long-standing decision, but I neglected to tell you about it in my last post. Mea culpa.


This past week, the thing I dreaded the most but knew would eventually happen…took place.

My treasured laptop slowed down immensely on Thursday and I shut it down because I could not use it. I only thank God that I wasn’t in the middle of an editing gig when this happened. In fact, it happened only hours after I had finished my last editing gig. So, praise the Lord again.

The next day, I took the ailing laptop to Staples, specifically to their tech repair desk. The young man who took down my information was extremely polite and helpful. While I used the old desktop in our home to do my work, Staples ran a PC tune-up for free! And I got my laptop back the next night, which was last night.

However…I have yet to hook it up and try it.

I am really scared that something will go wrong and that they didn’t fix it correctly, that I lost significant data, et cetera. Chalk this up to my clinical anxiety, but I’m just plain scared.

I always get scared when I get a new piece of technology or when it gets repaired. This past January, I bought an iPhone 13 Mini to replace my ancient iPhone 6. For the first two and a half weeks that I owned it, I was afraid to touch it. What would happen if I did something wrong? And when I bought my laptop in June 2020, same thing. It took me two days to hook it up and use it.

Luddites (the first syllable rhymes with thud, not with rude) resist technology and avoid it. I do not consider myself a luddite. Some people in the past might have thought I was one, because I did not buy my first smartphone (an iPhone 4) until 2015. By that time, the majority of people my age had smartphones. However, this was for economic/financial reasons.

I consider myself more like the Jawa from Star Wars. They, in fact, love technology…but they are clueless about how to use it. I am not “clueless,” but I’m embarrassed about the number of times I’ve had to go to the Verizon store with my iPhone and say, “Do you know how to do this?”

How about you? Are you more of a Jawa or a luddite? Or neither?

Mission accomplished

I think that, in the freelancing world, it is often good to be a little stressed. That way, the freelancer is continually aware that they are getting work and are sought after.

For yours truly, the week of March 28 to April 1 of this year was just like that.

I edited a short paper for a client, a much longer paper for another client, a booklet for my church, the weekly program and insert (also for my church), and the text of a new web page for yet another client. (To be fair, the deadline for the much longer paper wasn’t until April 4, but I did the vast majority of the editing during the aforementioned week.) Whew!

And l loved doing it.

Still, editing all of that material in the same five-day period was somewhat stressful. I had to plan carefully and triage everything based on its deadline. My daily planner was invaluable to me during this time, as it is during every week. For me, what works best is to break up a more sizable task into equal-sized pieces and work on one piece every day; I also try to leave one day as a “cushion” in case something comes up and (Heaven forbid) I fall behind. (By the way, please don’t use the expression “wiggle room” in front of me. I detest that term.)

I also had to exercise discipline in my work. No doing laundry while I work; that distracts me when it’s time to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer or remove clothes from the dryer and fold them. No going out for a walk (although the weather that week was freezing for late March/early April in Maryland) as much as I crave fresh air. Getting up and stretching is okay, but not spending too much time away from the computer.

I even worked Monday evening in order to accommodate all of my deadlines. I am a morning person and I don’t like working in the evening, but an editor has to do what an editor has to do.

Mission accomplished! I met all of my deadlines.

So what did I do that Friday night to relax and treat myself? Cleaned the bathroom.

*shaking my head*

The ugly side of science

Please let me start out by saying that I am not, repeat, NOT anti-science.

I worked in the biological sciences for years. I loved my science classes in high school and college, and went on to earn a master’s degree in biochemistry. I attended the March for Science in Washington, DC two years in a row (2017 and 2018–both of the years that it took place). I think science is essential for living. Think of all of the vaccines and antibiotics and antivirals that we wouldn’t have if it were not for science.

But science has an ugly side.

And I have experienced it.

Those of us with physical disabilities have a hard time doing it.

I have mild cerebral palsy. I am highly fortunate that I am able to walk, talk, write, and do so many things that people with severe CP cannot do.

However, my CP affects my hand and finger coordination–something essential to running many science experiments. I must work more slowly and more deliberately. This, when I was working in laboratories, did not endear me to some of my bosses, shall we say. In my last scientific research position, I was fired because I could not get the hang of restraining live laboratory mice.

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors flat-out told me that I am not good with my hands and that I should not be working in a scientific laboratory. (This professor also told me that I should “maybe” go into technical writing, which I find ironic, considering that I am now an editor who works in the sciences. Maybe I should have listened to him then?)

The ugly side of science is that it, by nature, makes it hard for those with physical disabilities to succeed in the laboratory. This is nobody’s fault. It’s just the nature of the beast.

If you, dear reader, have a physical disability and are pursuing a career in laboratory science right now, PLEASE don’t give up. You may be more successful than I was. I’m only writing from personal experience here. At the two Marches for Sciences that I attended, I listened to speeches given by scientists who were deaf or blind. I applaud those people immensely and wish I could sit down and hear more of their experiences.

Let me just add that I am still working in science–just not in the laboratory. Science embraced me after all.