I said to Julian (husband) this morning, “There just isn’t enough time to do all the stuff I need to do.” [weeding, housework, blogging, clearing out my old stock room so it can be used for stacking his and my paintings, painting, catching up with tv programmes I MUST see, finishing several books etc] Then, I rushed back to my iPad to see what is going on in America, vis á vis Trump, Russia, Korea et al via Twitter.
A few weeks ago I had a look at the ‘proportion of battery used by each app’ on my iPad. Half of all my use that day had been on Twitter. Now I am more often than not to be found surfing on my iPad – emails, blogging, the News, occasionally Facebook, Youtube, Viber, taking photos and looking at them – and Twitter – so that half of that time was probably something like three or four hours! What a disgraceful use of the few years I might have left and yet…….I have become addicted!
It all started when two things happened almost simultaneously, the looming of the American presidential election and my getting fed up with Facebook because there wasn’t enough serious news about the election on it. This last couple of years is the first time I have been political in my life, really, and who can blame me? Of course I’ve thought about policies and ideas and worried about what was happening in the world but I didn’t really get worked up about these things, just quietly worried.
What changed? Until 2015 I had never come across Trump except for his name which meant nothing to me beyond ‘a rich guy in America’ but his name and some of the things he was saying started coming up again and again in the news or on Facebook and I listened to what he was saying and was appalled. I wanted to do my bit to stop him becoming president but I had left the US before I was sixteen and hadn’t bothered to register at the Embassy so that I could vote when I was old enough. (Also, I have never become British and have never voted here, either and I was beginning to wish that I could. Brexit had raised its (ugly) head and I didn’t have a say). I decided that, perhaps, I should try to register to vote in the upcoming American election.
Using my favourite method, I looked up on the internet about expats signing up to vote, wrote to the person in charge of Ohio voting (I had last lived in Cincinnati), filled in forms and was then told several weeks later that I couldn’t vote because I don’t have a Social Security number (or, if I do, I’ve never been told it and haven’t a clue how to find out what it is.)
Maybe my not being able to vote in the primary for Bernie, which is what I wanted to do, is responsible for the even greater desire to become involved in some way but it wasn’t until the candidates had been chosen and the campaign was on its way that I started spending lots of time on Twitter as well as avidly watching the news via Apple News, becoming at first certain that Hillary would win then suddenly not so sure but still hopeful. Then the worst possible thing happened and I, along with many, many others was in shock!
You turn to your friends at times like this but none of my British friends was really that interested and, I knew from Facebook, that some of my relatives were actually in favour of Trump! Twitter became my main friendship group. I’ve found many tweeters whose thoughts on this administration are very similar to mine; I’ve glanced at and rejected others who seem to be overjoyed about the outcome of the election; I’ve read many interesting articles and have been awed at the things people can do in their research into all the goings-on of people who in many ways seem to control the way things will be in the future and I have had the opportunity to put forward my ideas (in 140 characters or fewer).
But, I’ve also wasted so much time when I could have been doing all the things I listed in the first paragraph but didn’t – and here am I, spending time telling you about my tweeting and not eating lunch, going to sign up for exercise classes or tidying the kitchen!
By the way, my Twitter handle(!) is nosgames, just in case you want to join me there for a natter.