Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's a Brave New World

It may be my age -- I'm 53 -- or that I've been on crutches the past two months, but I'd begun to wonder if I was getting too set in my ways to keep up with the march of technology. I don't have a cell phone; I don't have an iPod; I believe that portable devices that take photographs and play games should not be called telephones. I do, however, have a clock radio. Maybe it's time, I thought, to learn something really new and different. As soon as I master walking to the bathroom under my own power, I'm going to do something really out there.

So while most self-respecting men my age are buying red convertibles, I decided to learn a CAD program.

My friend Luis is a little Mexican guy who's a very stylish tennis player. He's also spent most of his professional life using a CAD program called Vectorworks, and after he showed me what it can do, I knew I had to have it; no matter that it costs as much as a decent table saw or that my computer skills have been unfavorably compared to our cat's.

There were a few problems right away: my operating system was too old, and I needed more memory. My computer had the same problems. My issues can't be fixed, sadly, but I can update the computer: just needed to throw a few hundred more bucks at it. Of course, all the other software I'd been running on my ancient system had to be updated, or purchased anew. My real beef with technology is that anything purchased in 2002, which seems like yesterday to me, is now laughably out of date, a relic. We live in a time when the elders no longer have currency -- kind of like furniture makers.

But now I have Vectorworks up and running. Yesterday I spent four hours drafting a section of a molding that might have taken me a minute-a-half -- tops -- at the drafting table. I think with another month of practice I can get it down to three hours. But I'm determined to learn this, if for no other reason than to prove I'm not to old to learn and to change.

Next time I'm going to buy the convertible.