Gadgets Galore - But Do We Really Need Them?
Whatever Would We Do Without All Our Modern Gadgets?
Would I Have Been Better Off In The Stone Age?
It usually happens around tea time just when I'm laying the table. Someone will ring up, and ask me if I can spare a few minutes of my valuable time to help them with a very important survey. I could just say "no," but by then I'm curious as to what information they wish me to divulge. The conversation usually goes something like this:
"What sort of car do you own?"
"I don't own a car."
"Oh." The posh female voice on the other end of the line sounds a trifle disconcerted. Have I messed up on only the first question?
"What sort of car have you owned in past?"
"I've never owned a car, but next doors have got a Jaguar if it's of any help to you but I'm quite happy with my tomcat."
The lady with the posh voice doesn't laugh; maybe she is programmed not to. "What sort of a car would you own if you did have one?"
By now I'm becoming frustrated and dinner is getting cold, so I tell her that the one car I'd definitely like to own is that nice, shiny, black one in the TV series Knight Rider - the car that drives itself - and if they can throw David Hasselhoff in as part of the package then so much the better. She attempts a feeble laugh this time but it sounds more like a strangled scream. It's obvious she doesn't appreciate my brand of humour so I decide it's time to own up. "You see," I explain, "actually, I can't drive."
Silence. Are you still there posh lady? It seems I've shocked her. Eventually, she gets her voice back and tells me it's no use continuing with the survey. Now I'm shocked and I'm offended too. You mean my opinions don't count for anything because I don't drive? I want to ask her if this is so, but she has already put the phone down.
Writers Nowadays Have Never Had It So Good!
My Emergence into the Modern World (Sometime in 2005)
Another caller is shocked that I don't own a PC, but at least he's intrigued to know that I'm quite happily bashing out a novel on a ten-year-old Amiga, which he says is practically coal-fired. I tell him I haven't even got the hang of that yet and it frequently erases whole chunks of my blockbuster to be, without any prompting from me.
My bus is delayed on the way to my theatre group and it occurs to me that it might be handy to have a mobile phone if my director needs to contact me urgently. "You can have my old one," my teenage daughter kindly offers, "If you buy me a more up to date model; this one's still in the Stone Age - like you."
Hmm... Maybe she does have a valid point; anything more complicated than a tin opener and I'm lost, and I've even forgotten how to use them since ring-pulls were introduced.
"Okay it's a deal, I'll have your old phone but you'd better show me how to use it. Where do you put the money in?" I ask jokingly, but she takes me seriously.
A week later and I'm now fairly competent with the modus operandi of mobile phones. I do find it all a bit unnerving though when I receive my first call in the queue for the check-out at Tesco’s. What's that strange ringing noise in my bag? I panic inwardly, before remembering what it is. It's quite an enlightening experience, what with all these text messages and voice mail and I now possess an in-depth knowledge of teen-speak as my daughter has forgotten to tell her friends she has given me her old phone.
There must be millions of twenty-first-century cave dwellers who, like me, find modern day living too fast and too technological. And many of us Stone Age folk, daunted by the thought of being bombarded by yet more innovations and upgrades are sometimes afraid to come out of our caves.
I can't wire a plug or change a fuse and instructions are only to be read after messing something up. Of course, I do act the part sometimes, just for a lark. Staring bemused at the escalator in a shopping precinct I will often ask the person I'm with: "What happens when the basement is full up with steps?"
As soon as I get used to something new, someone tells me it's outmoded or obsolete already. I always buy things to last, not just until something better comes along. I still have a twenty-five-year-old Pentax SLR camera; people tell me it looks positively antediluvian but it still takes perfectly good pictures so why should I replace it?
Is there such a thing as technophobia I wonder? My dictionary says no, but I think I suffer from it anyway. People with this malady are trapped in a time warp, afraid to move on, surrounded by memorabilia of a bygone age and things that don't function for unavailability of replacement parts. Maybe it's not exactly a fear of technological advancement, just a reluctance to change and a mistrust of something one isn't used too. Even now, I check my computerised till receipts, and yes, mistakes still do occur.
There is always overload with technology - for instance, my washer has twenty different cycles but I only use two of them. The more complex an item is, then the more there is to go wrong. Apart from bedside lamps, how many modern-day conveniences just have a simple on/off switch? And think of the extra time one wastes, figuring out how to get the latest labour saving devices to actually work. I always give up and go back to the old way of doing things improvising person that I am. The oven door on my fifteen-year-old cooker will not shut so I solve the problem by wedging a baking sheet under the handle... the new fan-assisted oven can wait.
In my house we only have five TV stations; any more and my husband would spend all evening channel hopping, never seeing a programme in its entirety. There will always be twenty-four hours in a day even if your watch nowadays may be guaranteed to function correctly at a depth of eighteen feet. The more conveniences you have, the less time you can spend on each.
I can't grasp why my insurance company has needed to change its name several times over the past few years, my bank manager is no longer a bank manager, but a financial services consultant and how can it be possible to buy electricity cheaper from the gas board? There is a whole world out there that I don't understand and my very valid excuse is that I've spent the past fourteen years bringing up a family, so the world has just passed me by.
I'm just completing a consumer survey from the post office. They say they want to know if my personal preferences have changed. I'm only bothering to do it because they send me money-off coupons, but I don't think my questionnaire will be much use to them. I'm unable to complete the sections on motoring, credit cards, computers and the Internet. I don't have a DVD player or digital TV and have no intention of getting them and what the hell is a WAP phone? Don't get me wrong I'm not against technology, but do we really need all these modern-day conveniences? And we certainly shouldn't come to rely on them so much that we can't remember how we ever got along without them. If anyone asks me the answer will always be: "perfectly fine."
The "must haves" of this world are truly baffled by people like me, locked into our Stone Age existence, and perpetually try to drag us, screaming, into the modern era. "Would you like a quotation for double glazing?" I'm asked by a nice, young man in the entrance to Tesco's.
"No thanks, very much," I reply smugly, "I still live in a cave."
I Eventually Discovered That Modern Paraphernalia Is Quite Useful with both Writing and Running My Own Business!
More Gadgets Coming Soon!
I Wouldn't Mind A Pair of Metal Detecting Sandals - Now That Sounds Like Fun!
© 2015 Stella Kaye