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"Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

June 25, 2008

The Paperless Society

We were told in the 1970’s that we would soon be a Paperless Society. I have news for you - we are not yet a paperless society. We recently took 440 pounds of paper to the recycling center to be recycled and probably sold to China. That country needs paper to package all the stuff it makes to send to us. Those cartons and boxes and papers will be sent to us and we, in turn, will send them back to China and so forth and so forth and so forth.

Unfortunately computers are not quite as reliable as one would wish - at least this one isn’t. Every now and then it loses things, even the things that I save. Every now and then it crashes and I have to reinstall programs and lose some vital piece of information. My dear son-in-law has given me equipment to help my computerized memory but I still seem to be able to lose things. I have been looking for a particular piece I wrote for my niece, Michele, and I can’t find it. . . anywhere, either cyberspace or on my computer or in my file drawers. Where does it go? Columnist Dave Ross said this: The best thing about the Internet is that there’s no paper. The worst thing about the Internet is that there’s no paper.

Now the idea of having no paper for many things is very compelling but I must admit that even though I have several books on my PDA for reading in a doctor’s office as I wait, I really like to have a real book in my hands. I like the feel of it, the smell of it, the fact that I can easily flip back to re-read a passage. I like to have a stack of books beside the bed, in the living room, in the study, in the bathroom and everywhere else. I like the heft of a book and the fact that if I accidentally hit the wrong key, the book is not gone. I like to make notes in the margins of certain books, although I do find hard to mark up a book - why I don‘t know. Perhaps I don‘t want people to know what I am thinking or more likely, if I lend it to someone, I don’t want to influence their thinking.

Have you observed that whenever you order something on the internet you are instructed to print out the order form and then again when you get an email verifying your order, you are instructed to print out the verification? So much for the paperless society.

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