published Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Shavin: Blogging in bed can lead to nightmares

By Dana Shavin

Experts agree: If you want to preserve the health of your relationship, there are certain things you and your spouse should not do in bed.

Most of the don't-do's are obvious: Don't argue in bed. Don't watch TV. Don't talk about your parents, even nicely. (Maybe especially not nicely.) Don't discuss the kids, chores, your finances or, for the love of God, your ex.

I would add one more don't to that list: Don't attempt to create a blog in bed.

Blogs, my husband and I have recently learned, are a very important business tool if you're self-employed, which we are. They are also (allegedly) fun and easy to create and maintain. So three days ago, eager to further our business footprints and to have fun, my husband and I scrambled into our PJs, grabbed our laptops and the dog and hopped into bed. We were on fire.

We logged into Tumblr. After a bit of fumbling, we found the templates, and we scrolled through excitedly. We each chose a template we liked, set up usernames and created passwords. So far it really was fun, as promised, and easy, too.

And then it wasn't.

Suddenly there were things -- technical, unclear things -- we had to do before we could start to blog. There were icons to choose. Pictures to upload.

And there were headers and subheaders -- fancy names for blog titles and subtitles -- to enter. These, however, could not be written directly into the templates. Instead, all writing was consigned to a space the size of a peanut to the far left of the template where, if I stared long enough while simultaneously holding my breath and thinking of every swear word I knew, a faintly blinking cursor would be revealed (which, for one almost-mirthful moment, I decided is why it's called a cursor). What you type into that tiny space then miraculously appears in your template. The effect is a kind of technological ventriloquism that, were it not so unintuitive, would be mildly interesting. But I still did not know how to write a blog post, and for this I turned to my husband for help.

"Honey?" I asked sweetly, leaning into his shoulder. "How do I post a comment?"

My husband looked at me patiently over his reading glasses. "I don't know," he said. "I'm just seeing this for the first time, too, remember?"

I did remember but this was not the answer I wanted, so I pressed on. "Yeah, I know, but where do you write stuff?"

My husband looked at me again. "I. Don't. Know," he said again, more slowly this time, as if word speed was what caused me to not comprehend what we both knew I knew, which was that he did not know.

By now we had been at it for two hours, it was midnight, and all I had to show for my efforts was a white page with my name and picture. I was tired and jealous of the dog who was snoring and sleep-running from something that I decided was probably human consciousness and the attendant impulse to start a blog.

And then I heard my husband's small voice in my ear. "How did you get your picture uploaded?"

I looked over at his (pitiful, hilariously) blank screen and prepared to deliver the same blow of ignorance he'd dealt me. "I don't know," I would say, when, in fact, uploading a picture was the one thing I did know.

But in the end I played nice. I showed him how to upload a picture, after which we went, mercifully, to sleep. The next day our blogs were nowhere to be found. They were not on our laptops and not online. They had disappeared, the way bad dreams dissolve into the cyberspace of morning.

Turns out that what happens online doesn't necessarily stay online. And for that we were strangely relieved.

Contact Dana Shavin at danalise@juno.com.

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