Tuesday, May 09, 2006


An anachronism is a thing belonging to another period of time. Something that is especially old fashioned.

I coordinate speakers for our hall. I usually have it down to a science. I have a document I send out via email to the other coordinator with our speakers, their talks, our hall address and all phones and email contacts. Usually they have the same. We email each other, pick our speakers and talks, suggest dates and email each other back. It takes about 15 minutes to schedule a month of talks.

I got the phone number of a new coordinator, someone I'd never corresponded with. The first thing I asked is if he had email. He didn't. He said he knows he needs to get email but there are some other things he needs to take care of first. I explain how easy the talk scheduling is with email. I explain how I schedule in just 15 minutes. I explain how superior my method is.

"Well, he says, we can do it over the phone," and I hear him fumble around with his phone and typewriter. It sounds like he just turned on his electric typewriter.

"What's your first speaker?" he asks. I tell him.

"What talks does he give?" So I start to rattle off the numbers.

"Wait, what's the title of talk number 37?" And so it goes. Each and every number I gave him the number AND the title. Some of our speakers have 20 and 30 talks. I'm thinking "Doesn't he have a list of talks next to him?" He should just be able to look over at some list. It could save so much time. I have a complete list of talks on a spreadsheet. I scroll down and read him the title. I was going to offer to send him my copy but remembered he doesn't have email. I hear noisy typing sounds like an old Underwood clacking away. Or maybe an old IBM Selectric. I can't believe my ears. How anachronistic. This will take forever. I say nothing.

"What kind of speaker is this?" Huh? He wants to know each speaker's qualities? He types away as I talk. Ruth is setting dinner out on the table, I've been at this for 15 minutes and I haven't even scheduled the first speaker.

"Can I call you back?" I ask him. I eat and call back 30 minutes later. I settle in for a long night.

About an hour later, exhausted and fatigued we begin the process of scheduling his speakers for our hall.

Finally he says: "I'm so sorry I so slow."

"That's okay." I say. I've already lost the night. It's now 10:30 p.m.

"I know I'm slow. Perhaps you can hear my braille typewriter in the background."

I freeze. "A what?"

"It's my braille typewriter that's making all this noise." With each word he types I now hear a quiet computer voice reading back the words.

I feel ill and about one inch tall.

"It's no problem. Please take all the time you need." I say, and I mean it this time.

"Be agitated but do not sin. Have your say in your bed, and keep silent." -Ps 4:4