Google Docs and I met at a gathering over at the EMT office several summers ago. Mark DeLonge introduced us and told us we were made for each other. And he was right—we hit it off right away. I was mostly struck by how easy the relationship was. We could meet any time and any place. I could change him, and he never complained. And he got along so well with my other new friend, Moodle. The three of us were going to be inseparable. I could see the future, and it was bright and easy.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the honeymoon to end. As it turned out, he wasn’t as easy-going as I thought. Sure, I could create new documents, but trying to take my previous nine years’ worth of writing and convert them all into Google Docs was a nightmare. Suddenly my welcoming, easy-going friend refused to accept anything from my previous life. He wanted nothing to do with my old formatting, my old fonts and my old tables. If he didn’t come up with it, he wasn’t interested. Yes, he’d allow these old friends of mine in, but it had to be on his terms—his paragraph breaks, his fonts, his formatting.
We argued, we both said things we probably shouldn’t have, and I walked out. I was done with Google Docs and his irrational, inflexible ways. We didn’t see each other for a couple years. Now and then I’d hear about him from friends: he was doing well, he was more user-friendly, he was more flexible, and—this was the kicker—he wanted me back.
The more my friends talked about him, the more I started to reconsider. I suggested we meet for coffee at the Teaching Solutions boot camp. With Mark and Tracy’s help Google Docs and I patched things up. But it’s a different relationship now: I know he has his flaws. I know that he can be difficult. But I also know that if I stop trying to make him fit my preconceived, Word-focused idea of what a good word processing program should be and accept him for who he is, we can have a real partnership again. And we are totally hanging out again with Moodle. It’s been a long and winding road, but I think this time the love Google Docs and I share is for real.