I’m certainly not a Luddite, but I wouldn’t call myself an early adopter either, not these days, anyhow. My mother loves gadgets and gizmos. When I was a kid, we had every new piece of tech to come on the market. We had cable before any of my friends, we had a PC right after they came out and a VCR complete with a cord attached to the remote control. My mom buys a new car every two years just in case there are some newly-designed, magic buttons that she’s missing out on. My mom passed this trait down to my sister and, thankfully, left me to fend with my archaic technology like my dad. As long as it still functions within normal parameters, that’s good enough for me. I’ve had the same old Blackberry for years. My father has used the same table saw since before I was alive.
I could live without the Blackberry. Honestly, the fact that I don’t have an excuse for not answering someone’s call anymore has me a little annoyed. While the cell phone does have some awesome advantages, like GPS and being able to call someone if your car dies on the highway, I’m not really a fan. I don’t like being tethered to the real world all the time. My phone has Facebook and email on it, too. There’s nothing worse than seeing that flashing red notification and not knowing exactly what it is. I have to look. It’s human nature. I could really live without that.
I could live without the television, too, seeing as I spend far too much time in front of one. I don’t have cable anymore, but I do have the internet, which means I have unlimited sources for finding things to watch. It’s a problem. I am unemployed and have forced a rule upon myself that I’m not even allowed to fire up the ol’ TV until 8 PM. Otherwise, I might spend all day, every day, in front of it. I could live without that.
Then there are the technologies we don’t really think about all that much, but are an imperative part of modern daily life, e.g. the hot water heater, the alarm clock and the coffee maker. Before we had hot water heaters attached to our abodes, you’d have to heat up water to take a bath. People didn’t take showers in the morning to wake up like they do today because the process of taking one was so convoluted that, by the time you got all the parts in working order, it was time for lunch already. Indoor plumbing is definitely a technology that is imperative in my world. Before we had digital clocks, we were waking up to old fashion numbers that had to be wound. Before we had the coffee maker, people would cook coffee on a stove, and before that, on an open fire. These activities are not new, but the modern technology that makes the processes easy are definitely items I would rather not live without. However, since these activities could be done without our modern technology, I’m going to discount them in favor of things that didn’t exist in a former paradigm.
So, that leaves the computer. The very first thing I do in the morning, after peeing in my high-tech, flushable toilet and making coffee in my fabulous, high-tech coffee maker, is grab my laptop. I open it up and plug into the world. I see what’s going on out there. I connect with people who live far away. I write things like this thing I’m writing now. I save them on my hard drive. Before we had the computer, we had the typewriter, which was still better than writing things out by hand, but not by much. You couldn’t surf the internet on a typewriter. There was no interface. There was nothing besides you and a sheet of paper. It wouldn’t even tell you when you spelled something incorrectly. The computer has become a focal point of my existence. It is the main tool I use in my profession. I could live without a computer in a strict, hunter-gatherer sense, but I sure as hell wouldn’t choose to do so.