Sunday, November 15, 2009

Technology Lapse

So many times recently, I have walked through an airport wondering what we all did without our cell phones and laptops. A high percentage of passengers passing through airport terminals are either talking, texting, reading emails, or surfing on their cell phones. And once they’re seated at the gate, out come the laptops for some full-blown web-surfing. The way we communicate and obtain information has changed dramatically in the past decade or so. There used to be banks of pay phones at the airport, often with lines of people waiting for their turn to make a call. Now, airports have turned those payphone booths and phone kiosks into mini computer stations, complete with plenty of electrical outlets for charging various devices. Without all this technology, some of us would be lost.

We have pretty reliable cable and internet service at the house, but as I write this, we have been without both for about 3 hours. I have to admit, it’s a pretty strange feeling to know that I can’t just jump online to send a quick email or to Google something. It has made me realize how much I depend on this technology to move through my day. Now don’t misunderstand. There are things to be done around here that don’t require technology. In fact there are some decidedly non-technology oriented tasks waiting for me in my yard right now. But when it comes to gathering information, communicating, entertainment, or even work, we live in a pretty technology dependent culture.

Fortunately, my cell phone is still up and running. That means I can do some things online if I want to. Not quite as conveniently, but I’m not cut off completely. And my computer is still up and running for things that don’t require online access. But I’m sitting here trying to imagine what it would feel like if all of my technology was lapsed right now. Tasks would get done, for sure. I would still have a meal on the table. But I have to admit, that the day would feel very different from the norm.

We adults are not the only ones intrigued by technology. On my recent visit to Washington, my grandsons (Jackson especially) were all excited to find me waiting for them each morning with my laptop. They wanted to “go to Google” or “YouTube” to look for “Cars” videos. They love the Pixar cars and also a series of videos called Auto B Good. Jackson got to typing stuff himself, and I realized how much technology is just second nature to these new little ones coming up. I have it in my head that some day when the boys are older, they’ll come to me and say, “Hey Geep…remember when we used to use those laptop things when we were little?” Who knows what advances will take place in the next 10-15 years. We won’t even recognize today’s gadgets!

And speaking of recognizing technology, here is one of life’s little mysteries. Why in the world, when you go to the toy department, do they still sell toy rotary phones?

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