The Technology We Need

Eugene PolleyI need a couple of buttons on my computer. One would be a “What just happened?” button and the other would be “What do I do now?” button. If you could make those for me, tech people, I will be very grateful.

Not that I am ungrateful, of course. In fact, recently I was celebrating the fact that, even though I am in California where they only show America-located hockey games on my TV, I was able to watch a Calgary/Vancouver playoff game.  This was made possible because my roommate has an app on her phone that allows her to watch NBC Live Sports. She also has an adaptor that allows her to hook up her phone to our TV and–Ta Da!–watch Canadian playoff hockey with me. It’s magic.

When I mentioned this to some friends and family members, I discovered that there are several of us who struggle with new technologies even while we enjoy their benefits.  We love watching movies on TV, but we don’t always know how to stream Netflix, so some of us still get DVD’s in the mail.

When faced with someone else’s home entertainment system, we don’t know which remote to use for which purpose, and we are terrified that we may mess up someone’s settings. And why, for goodness sake, do we all need three or more remotes?  One of them is used only to push the “Input” button, so that seems a bit unnecessary.

My new computer, on which I am typing this blog post, has taken me a few months to learn to love, but I’m getting there. I feel as though I’m cheating on my true love by using this one, but since the old one won’t talk to me any more I’ll just have to make the best of it. The trouble is that I have this nagging feeling that I still have important stuff on the old, dead, laptop so I’m not going to throw it out. I’m going to wait to see if someone (specifically, my son-in-law) can give it the kiss of life long enough for me to somehow hoard all that old data. Just in case.

Cell phones are another technological marvel that I love so much I have two; a Californian and an Albertan. That’s because roaming charges are scary, and it’s cheaper this way. (I have learned that all I really needed was a US sim card, but it’s too late now.) Actually, it’s kind of ridiculous that I have two cell phones and two landlines because I am a bit (or a lot) phone-phobic. I tell myself that I have them in case of emergencies, but mostly I use my cell phone to while away the time when I’m in waiting rooms or in long line-ups. It is really good for that. I also use it when one of my coffee date friends asks me to look up trivia on Google. One of my landlines has only one purpose and that is to buzz people in at the front door of the condo complex.  If that isn’t a waste of technology, I don’t know what is.

In fact, I waste all my technologies. They are all capable of solving world hunger, landing astronauts on the moon, and figuring out the meaning to life, and I just use a tiny portion of their capabilities. So much potential, so little application. Even my kitchen gadgets are reduced to performing only minor operations when they could, theoretically, allow me to become a gourmet chef.

But, when all is said and done, I’m just happy to be able to type blog posts, read my email, and blend smoothies. It’s a good life.


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