I’m the kind of person who taps cmd+s like it’s a tick, or a little guinea pig jig my thumb and middle finger do when they’re excited. During finals, when I was banging out my own continuous essays as well as proofreading a 145,000 word PhD thesis, I found myself cmd+sing while writing emails, scrolling through Facebook, or looking through my photo albums. It became an uncontrollable habit.
It’s very frustrating when you’re reading an interesting article, but your dastardly left hand repeatedly tries to save the webpage, which you then have to cancel, and repeat.
I’ve reached the level where, when I’m writing my emails (which autosave, by the way), or Facebook messages (which really aren’t that important), or job applications (ok, these are important), I do as follows:
1. cmd+s every sentence as standard
2. cmd+a, cmd+s, cmd+c, and cmd+v into a seperate word doc (just in case)
People have recognised obsessive compulsive traits in my weird habits (tapping, biting my cheeks, clicking my index finger with a ‘perfect’ sign) but this is a new-age habit, indicative of the way computers are taking over our brains and insidiously sliding into our natural behaviours and subconscious.
I’ve been watching a lot of sci-fi lately.
BUT despite this super-unefficient and time-wasting compulsion to protect my precious words against the simultaneous combustion of Mac/MS software, the unbelievable happened two days ago.
I lost a hard-hitting and fabulously creative article.
How could this happen to me! It was an insightful, witty deconstruction of the contrast between descriptive language vs experienced reality of Townships in South Africa. I had formatted the pictures to sit beautifully within the text, and researched a zillion facts and quotes to back up my argument. The only notes I took down on honest and failproof paper consisted of ‘bullshit’ and ‘police’.
Woe. Is. Me.
Ironic self-admonishments / -congratulations aside, I think it’s interesting that this is a habit that is so literal. I seek command (or control if MS) so I assert my cmd over my words, I assert my ctrl over creations I work on.
When I was a kid I played Sims like it was my life mission, and dreamed about my characters at night. I always think about how I wished with all my heart that there was a sneaky cheat box you could muster in the top left-hand corner of real-life. Type in ‘motherlode’ and I’m suddenly a kazillionaire. Or press fast-forward on a moment that was particularly dull, or that I didn’t like. I guess it’s more relevant that I spent my childhood playing god, and cmd-ing pixels on a screen, though. I suppose that’s kind of always been my life mission though – to manipulate words on a screen.
I wish there was a cmd button for life.
These ‘nambies’ from said South Africa trip don’t care about anything. They’ve got cmd and ctrl of the road.