About a month ago I got on the scale. I spent thirty some odd dollars on the thing and it was getting dusty, so I thought I'd, I don't know, use it?
I knew my clothes were getting tight. I haven't weighed this much since I was nine months pregnant with my first child and retaining seriously gallons of water in really inconvenient places. I'd walk across campus and my feet would jiggle out over the tops of my shoes. I could feel the fluid vibrating, clear up to my knees, and if I pressed my fingers into the flesh of my ankles, the imprint would last for a good half hour. I wore my husband's clothing and cut the waistbands of my pants. I felt enormous.
That's how much I weigh, right now.
I was telling my sister this. Reminiscing about being pregnant and fat. "Oh, but you were huge when you were pregnant," she said.
"Uh, yeah. That's what I'm telling you. I weigh that much. RIGHT NOW."
I said I thought I might be more inclined to get up and go walking if I had an mp3 player with songs or something I liked on it, but I'd never buy one because I didn't want to figure it out.
Now, Nena likes being "the pretty sister." She reminds me of this frequently, but even she took pity on my poor bloated self. She brought over an old iPod (She has three–who has three old iPods?) and even preloaded it with lots of excellent songs, speeches and books on tape. (Go ahead, snicker. I know. I called them books on tape. Whatever.)
I did get online that day and figure out how to turn the darn thing on, but I haven't had the time to pick up any earbuds yet. And my teens would probably die if I borrowed theirs for ten minutes, so there it sits. Said teens have listened to all the beast contains and the battery is dead. I don't even know what's on it, and I might like it, but I dread the thought of trying to put my own media choices on the thing. (What are you doing, Kimber? What are those things in your ears? Can I try? No, let me try!)
My dismal technological skill set got me thinking about literacy, again.
The definition currently held by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientfic and Cultural Organization) states: "'Literacy' is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society."
By that definition, do you feel literate? Do you feel you have reached that point in your learning that enables you to achieve your goals and full potential? Can you turn on an iPod let alone operate it? It could be the greatest tool ever known to man to access the written and spoken word at any time in any place, and I don't know how to use it. Not that if I did I would necessarily get out of the house and go walking… but I think it points to an entirely new way of measuring literacy.
I'm imagining these people hundreds of years ago who only needed to sign their name to be considered literate.
They couldn't read and write and talk to someone on the other side of the globe, but they were literate as far as that era demanded. Independent and unsupervised reading was not only uncommon, but considered a sinful waste of time, at best, or dangerous and subversive at worst. Makes a person wonder–as the definition of literacy evolves, what skills will become essential that my generation currently considers frivolous?