Workarounds




I’m late to writing today because we have intermittent Internet outages here. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I have two video meetings today — one with one of my colleagues about internships for the summer (which are pretty rocky right now) and one to congratulate some of my interns for a good semester. (This is part of their celebration with a local placement who treats their interns well). 

My home computer is malfunctioning again. Same problem as before (no cursor), except that I haven’t been able to shame it into working again. It apparently has to do with a Windows update. Why is Windows Update killing my computer?

I have become frighteningly tied to my computer during this pandemic. I interact with students and faculty, grade assignments, look up things, surf occasionally for fun, make social contact, write/revise my novels, submit queries … Right now the computer is the only contact I really have with the outside world. Because my files are on Dropbox, I can’t even access them without my fiber connection when the fiber connection goes out.

I am going to have to find some workarounds. I have a wireless hot spot, but it needs some data added to it. We’re going to do that before Richard leaves for work today. I can draft using paper and fountain pen, or even better — I have a livescribe pen that does an pretty good job rendering my handwriting into digital (I bought it for $30 — I highly advise buying gently used high-tech items on ebay or amazon). 

This moment reminds me that there are always workarounds, but sometimes they take effort and money and time to find. Glasses are a workaround for those of us without perfect vision. Insulin is a workaround for people with pancreatic dysfunctions. Cars are a workaround for people who can’t walk 20 miles into work. I’m in a pretty good place for workarounds, although if my computer doesn’t start working properly, there might be an expensive workaround in my future. But one I likely can afford.

We can’t expect people with limited resources to make workarounds without help. This is why the response to quarantine has been so difficult for education. Some of our students don’t have access to computers at home. Some live in large families in apartments and don’t really have privacy. Some don’t have Internet. So we try the best we can to facilitate their education. 

We need workarounds. Because plans aren’t always perfect, because things (and people) break. Embrace the workaround.

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