Tomhas na Teanga

Bíonn rotha mór an tsaoil ag dul timpeall. The wheel of the world keeps going ‘round. Bíonn an saol ag athrú, sin a rá. The world is always changing, that is. Agus ní athraíonn aon rud chomh tapúil agus a athraíonn an teicneolaíocht. And nothing changes as quickly as technology. Nuair a bhí m’athair óg, d’fheictí capaill agus cairteacha go coitianta gCathair Nua-Eabhrac fós.  When my father was young, it was still common to see horses and carts in NYC. Bhíodh tralaithe agus gal-traenacha  ann. There used to be trolleys and steam trains. In Éirinn, fiu le linn m’óige féin, ní raibh leictreachas ar fáil faoin tuath.  In Ireland, even in my own youth, there was no electricity to be had in the countryside. Is deacair a chreidiúint nach mbíodh teilifíseán ag an uile dhuine, ach ní bhíodh.  It’s hard to believe that everybody didn’t have a TV, but they didn’t. Ná ríomhaire, ná fón póca! Or a computer or a cell phone! Conas a b’fhéidir le daoine maireachtáil mar sin?! How could people live like that?!

Bíonn an t-athrú deacair mar rud, minic go leor.  Change is hard, very often. Sin ráite, is iomaí rud maith a thagann as.  That said, lots of good things come of it. Is beag rud sa saol seo atá buan, agus ní mór dúinn go léir dul i ngleic leis an saol mar atá, agus mar a bheidh – an teicneolaíocht san áireamh.  Very little in this world is permanent, and we have to come to grips with the world as it is, and as it will be –technology included. Tá daoine ann, fós féin, a dhiúltaíonn an teicneolaíocht nua. There are people, nevertheless, who reject the new technology. Tá aithne agam ar dhaoine gan teilifíseán, agus tá siad sásta lena saol.  I know people with no TV, and they’re happy with their lives. Bíonn roghanna againn mar sin – ach bíonn níos mó roghanna ann i gcónaí!  So we always have choices – but there are always more choices!

Éiríonn an saol níos casta agus níos éasca ag an am céanna, ar dhóigheanna áirithe. Life gets more complicated and easier at the same time, in certain ways. Cuir i gcás an ríomhaire.  Take computers. Tá an iliomad rud níos éasca sa lá atá inniu ann mar gheall ar an ríomhaire – taighde a dhéanamh, litreacha a sheoladh, ticéid nó rud ar bith a cheannach, srl. Many things are easier today because of computers – doing research, sending letters, buying tickets or anything at all, etc. Ach ní mór do dhuine foghlaim conas ríomhaire a úsáid.  But a person has to learn how to use a computer. Agus ceann a roghnú, roimhe sin.  And how to pick one, before that. Agus bíonn an bogearraí ag athrú i gcónaí.  And the software is always changing. Agus, Dia dár sábháil, má tá fadhb agat le do ríomhaire, is féidir mórán ama a chaitheamh amú ar thóir a réitigh. And, God save us, if you have a problem with your computer, you can waste a lot of time looking for its resolution. Rud a shábhálann am dúinn de ghnáth, is féidir leis am a ghoid uainn níos mó ná aon rud eile, idir fadhbanna agus cluichí nó súgradh ar an idirlíon srl.  Something that usually saves us time, it can steal time from us more than anything else, between problems and games or playing on the internet. Paradacsa is ea é.  It’s a paradox.

Minic go leor, nuair a thagann rud nua ar an saol, imíonn rud eile. Lots of times, when a new thing comes along, something else goes away. De réir a chéile a tharlaíonn seo, den chuid is mó. This happens gradually, mostly. Nuair a thánaig na Diesel chun tosaigh ar na hiarnróid, níor cailleadh gach gal-inneall traenach ar an lá céanna.  When Diesels took over on the railroads, every steam engine wasn’t lost on the same day. Ach d’imigh siad, agus d’imigh ní ba thapúla céim ar chéim.  But they went away, and did so more quickly step by step. Is breá le daoine mar mise iad, agus sábháladh roinnt díobh, ach ní úsáidtear iad ar chor ar bith chun fíor-ghnó a dhéanamh níos mó.  People like me love them, and some of them were saved, but they’re never used any more for real business. Is breá liom na traenacha nua, agus tá siad níos fearr, gan dabht.  I love the new trains, and they’re better, no doubt. Níos saoire, níos cumhachtaí, srl.  Cheaper, more powerful, etc. Ach tá grá agam do na sean-chinn freisin. But I love the old ones, too.

Tá clóscríobhán leictreach agam sa bhaile. I have an electric typewriter at home. Nuair a fuair mé é, bhí sé sean, ach i bhfad ní b’fhearr ná na sean-chlóscríobháin a bhíodh agam.  When I got it, it was old, but much better than the old typewriters I used to have. An cuimhin leat na ribíní agus an white out? Do you remember the ribbons and…? An bhfuil a fhios agat cá bhfuaireamar an giorrúchán ‘cc?’  Do you know where we got the abbreviation ‘cc?’ Is cuimhin liomsa.  I remember. Nuair a bhí mo pháistí óg, bhain siad sult as an gclóscríobhán leictreach mar rud aisteach suntasach.  When my kids were little, they had fun with the electric typewriter which was strange and interesting. Ní minic a fheictear rud mar é riamh níos mó lasmuigh de iarsmalann.  You don’t ever see such a thing any more outside of a museum. Tá ríomhaire ag gach éinne.  Everybody has a computer. Nach bhfuil sé ait anois sean-phictiúr d’oifig gan ríomhairí a fheiscint? Isn’t it strange when you see an old picture of an office with no computers?

Glacaimid leis na rudaí nua (de ghnáth), ach bíonn cuimhní cinn breátha againn de na stuif atá ag imeacht ón saol, minic go leor.  We accept the new things (usually), but we have fine memories of the stuff that’s disappearing, very often. Meascán a bhíonn ann idir an sean is an nua. It’s a mix of the old and the new. An t-aon rud buan, sin an t-athrú. The only thing permanent is change.