Living Between the Lines

A World Without…

I dreamt I had had my iPhone and purse stolen, two possessions integral to my daily life and needs. The dream was surreal, as most dreams are, in that I was stranded at Waterloo Station, without means to propel myself home again.

As is the way with dreams, I soon found myself in a taxi worrying how I would pay the fare. This worry was compounded by the driver appearing to lose his way. I duly noted that there was no SatNav in the car and the driver relied on a walkie-talkie for communication with his base. It was all, most strange.

Stranger still, when I eventually arrived home, (Taxi driver must have been very kind) I seemed to have walked back in time as though the disappearance of my iPhone and bank cards signaled the end of technology as we know it. Hence, my husband appeared circa 1990, super slim with hair flopping onto his forehead in place of his normal grade 3 cut, wearing clothes from the last century. My children, also considerably downsized, ran around happily enough. I began to wonder what had actually happened to my mobile and looked around for another, surely there was one here? Alas, there was not. Worse, there was not a computer to be seen and certainly no iPads. I did not immediately think how wonderful it was to be back in the days when the children were small and the wider family circle might be intact, though this would certainly have been the case had I stopped to think. I was more concerned with finding my iPhone for I sensed that this alone could return me to the present.

Thankfully, I woke up from this nightmarish experience at this point but the dream stayed with me all day. It caused me to muse on the amazing leaps in technology that have happened in the last ten or twenty years. I pondered on how dependent I have become on these developments.

The dream, it seemed, had removed all from me in one fell swoop.

What would it be like to go back to those times now? How would we cope? Would we adapt easily? I sit at my computer and type. I suppose I could still be doing this at my typewriter with little or no regrets. But no internet? Only a few short years ago we all wondered at the coming of internet shopping – that too would be gone.

How would I communicate so quickly with the outside world? You don’t miss what you have never had but I fear I would miss all that I have grown used to.

I am relieved that the dream did not remove electricity or any of the fundamental major advances of modern times. It merely removed personal computers – and my purse for some reason. We wont dwell on the reasoning behind the latter!

Perhaps the dream was triggered by news of the latest addition to the computer stakes: A Raspberry Pi. Yes, we have had The Apple, The Blackberry and even Orange, now it is the turn of the humble raspberry.

The latest concern of the UK government is that the next generation will be so attuned to having electronic devices work for them at the press of a button, that they will not stop to consider how they work or what goes on beneath the shiny fascia. We could be left without anyone to pick up the gauntlet from our current crop of programmers and software developers. My own grandsons seem quite adept at using their parents’ iPhone. The 16 month old can turn it on, scroll through photos and accidentally phoned me the other day. The eleven month old is following in his cousin’s wake and both are fascinated by my iMAC.

Meanwhile, schools stand accused of setting boring and uninteresting computer classes. What was once seen as innovative and exciting, now seems humdrum and mundane.

The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer without case, screen or mouse. It plugs into an existing motherboard externally and allows the children to experiment with both programming and writing software. It is already a big hit wherever it has been applied.

The Raspberry Pi
"The next generation must learn to control computers and not be controlled by them"

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity who say their aim was to make “a BBC Micro for the 21st century”. They used the technology from smartphones to produce small, low-cost units. A Sky news report suggests it is being sold at £22 per unit. Currently the size of a credit card, the unit will eventually be the size of a small pack of playing cards according to its creators. This incredibly cost-effective computer is capable of word processing, gaming, video playback and internet browsing.

Surely it will inspire a whole new wave of classroom entrepreneurs!

I cannot wait to see what these young innovators come up with.

Getting back to the dream, what really triggered it I do not know. Dreams tend to have meanings attributed to them. Maybe, deep down, I do yearn for simpler times. I confess to buying a writing pad and a pack of envelopes this week because there are some people in my life who like to be written to still but, on the whole, I am happy to have so much technology within my grasp.

So, welcome Raspberry Pi and may your reign be both fruitful and bright!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Hilary

    Hi Susan .. good dream – well good story! I’d rather have an Eton mess or a Plum Duff than a Raspberry Pi .. but the name is great … We have come so far and so fast .. a bit frightening how quickly the little ones pick things up .. gosh!!

    Cheers Hilary

      • hilarymb

        Hi Debbie .. sorry obviously got my wires crossed with names .. there is a blogger who is Susan Deborah, who lives in India .. and boy do I get muddled at times .. SORREEEE but I’ll have the Eton mess .. ?! Spring really is here .. cheers Hilary

    • Deborah Barker

      No worries Hilary, I thought I might have missed a connection there somewhere but all I could think of was Susan, Dr Who’s time travel companion…seemed a long shot so guessed it was a simply mix-up. Yes, Spring has sprung and an Eton Mess is yours! 🙂

  • Teresa

    I sometimes (day)dream of those simpler times when life seemed far less complicated, yet I hate to think of being without my computer, mobile phone etc. That is very interesting about the Raspberry Pi – I imagine children will love it!

  • Martha Mawson

    A time of simpler needs and processes is something I wish for, but, like you, would be lost without the internet and the ability to communicate at the touch of a button. The Raspberry Pi sounds wonderful – will allow those who use to understand all the whys and wherefores rather than just the applications and amusements.

  • Andrea Carlisle

    It’s hard to say what worries me more, a future with more and more technology to distract us from face-to-face conversation (I’m as guilty of this as anyone else), or a future in which the human race walks around permanently bent over and in agony from spending so much time sitting at computers. My back hurts nearly all the time now. Maybe it’s just age, but maybe it’s this fascination with fast fast fast, now now now. I think your dream was a dream for all of us who are part of this crazy new world. Sometimes I really wish we could turn around and take a different path.

    • Deborah Barker

      Funnily enough, I think the thinking behind the raspberry pi is to stop children from demanding now, now now and expecting everything to ‘just happen’. Hopefully they will think about how they get whatever it is. So, maybe a different path will open up!

  • Katie Gates

    That’s a fascinating dream! Particularly insofar as the entire context was backed into the past — your husband’s haircut, the children being little. I have “issues” with technology, but mainly because evil (or immature) people can use it to do evil (or hurtful) things. Otherwise, I am grateful for what it allows us to do and who it allows us to meet!

  • J.P. Lane (@jpLANEauthor)

    Confess I go into complete panic when I’m minus a computer. And it’s not just because I have nothing to write with (in the way I’m comfortable writing). It’s because I feel cut off from the rest of the world. I have a friend in Malaysia who resisted getting a computer and having an e-mail account for years. She would snail mail me regularly. I’d write her once or twice a year. Now we communicate several times a week. I like this new world of ours. Think about it, I’d never have read this post and never have had the chance to comment on it if it weren’t for today’s technology. Thank goodness your dream was just a dream.

Leave a Reply