Monday, February 16, 2009

Gadget Overload (or Fondly Remembering the Rotary Phone)

In the preview for the new movie He's Just Not That into You, Drew Barrymore's character laments about being rejected via several different technologies. Given today's technology, it's not much of an exaggeration.

Cell phones, PDA's, portable DVD players, Blackberry, Bluetooth, text messaging, iPhone, head is spinning. With all the techno-gadgets out there, I have to wonder, how did we ever survive without all this stuff?

Well, we did. Some of us still do. I have a cell phone, but it's not even a camera phone. It has text messaging, but I've never sent a single text message.

I don't have GPS in my car. I don't do a lot of long distance driving, and I use the old fashioned county road atlas if I'm going to an unfamiliar part of town.

I've always been a little resistant to technology. I guess I'm old-fashioned. I grew up in the age of rotary phones (I always liked the sound the dial made), and when I was a little kid we had a black and white TV. When I was in high school, we got cable TV, an answering machine and a VCR, the hot new technologies of their time. Yet, I remember when CDs came out I refused to buy them for the longest time.

It's amazing how far we've come, how much communication has evolved. But while the function and convenience of all the latest technology is appealing, I think we may be too reliant on some of these gadgets.

Do we really need to pay the cable bill while we're ordering lunch at the drive-thru? People are so into multi-tasking these days they are even conducting business by Bluetooth at the grocery while choosing pasta sauce. I once saw a husband and wife talking on their cell phones at the each other. She had called him from the next aisle, and he was walking toward her. Geez!

While it's great we can receive or send information from anywhere, I worry about what all these gadgets have done to us.

It's like we've become gadget slaves. People who are so addicted to text messaging, we will risk getting into trouble at work or school. Or who laugh in the face of danger by texting while driving. Or who have to have every new gadget that hits the market, we don't care what it does, we just know we have to have it! Or who can't just relax and enjoy our leisure time without allowing ourselves to be repeatedly interrupted by our ringtone. Or who'd rather drive into a tree than have to read a paper map.

Seriously though, sometimes I get nostalgic for the days when we didn't have all this stuff. Things are moving so rapidly these days, and everyone just seems so stressed out, doing more and working faster, that I find myself missing the simpler times.

Still, all the technology we have is pretty neat, and it does make life easier and allow us to get information faster. But it may have the tendency to drive you nuts. Think of poor Drew!

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