Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Timing is Everything

Very frequently, I look around and suspect I'm living in the wrong era. I am of the last generation that can remember a time before all of this technology, a time when we played outside and didn't worry about much, when we built things out of sticks and chased each other and climbed trees. Things were simpler then.

I look around today at all that we have, all that even children have, and it makes me very sad. (Yes, I understand the irony of posting such a thing on the Internet, but such is life.) I'm just not into all of this technology; I don't think it improves our quality of life, but maybe that's just me. I don't own a smartphone, nor do I have any desire to do so. In fact, because that is all that my phone company offers in terms of upgrades, I have had the same phone for almost four years and don't plan on trading that in any time soon. I don't have a laptop and never have, even though I may have to scrounge one up if I take a certain job that seems to be laying itself on the table. We'll see. I just think that if I'm going somewhere that isn't my home, that isn't my work, where my computer simply isn't, that it's ok to be unreachable. It's ok to take in what I am doing, to live in the present, and to just be. I don't feel like I have to be constantly connected.

That makes me vastly different than my world. I understand that. And it's not the only way I just haven't caught up. I still use a VCR, which is more trouble these days with the cable company's accelerated technology (that doesn't allow me to record something I am not watching...I mostly record while I'm sleeping if I need to see something). I have an 8-track in the dining room, built into the same cabinet as my phonograph (that's a record player). My car has a cassette player. There's a CD changer in the trunk, but I don't ever change the discs out. I'm content with the radio. I like to walk, when I can. I don't have wireless access to anything. I don't have high-speed internet; I'm using dial-up when I need to use this Internet, and though some people curse at its slowness, it doesn't bother me. I find it a good test of patience and some bonus time to let life be.

Because life has gotten too fast. Everything is go, go, go, and so it's no wonder we have more stress and distress in our world because nobody feels like they can just be, be, be these days. I often wonder, the way this society clashes with my inner sense of pretty much everything, when I would have been better off living. What era speaks to me?

And what I have decided is this:

I belong sometime after the widespread implementation of indoor flush toilets and radio....and sometime before a great deal of other technology. Television is nice, but I consider it optional. As far as I know, you never go around quoting TV to comfort or strengthen or serenade yourself; it's always music. I need my music. And I need my fancy sewer system that takes things elsewhere. Anything else is negotiable.

I'm not saying these days are evil. I'm not saying there aren't some fantastic inventions and advances in our society that have come in the past 50 years or so. I am thankful for the various of translations of our Bible, that allow me to hear from God in a new way. I am thankful for the developments of social justice, equality, etc - in women's rights and the breaking of racial barriers. These have enhanced our community, no question. I'm thrilled with things like duct tape. But I just don't see the need to live in a world where everything is at my fingertips. It takes something away from the joy of life for me.

Which is why, when my tax refund comes in the mail (and yes, I mailed it in with an actual envelope and a 45-cent stamp), I am investing in something simpler - a new bicycle. Because I miss riding. Because there's something about it that is better than a car, at least for me. My old bike got ruined in the flood of 2008, warped and rusted beyond any reasonable ride-ability. And because I found this beautiful bicycle at Wal-Mart that is nostalgic, a little bit retro and absolutely elegant, a simple cruiser - none of those complicated gears that we all thought was a brilliant idea in the 90s when they became the standard even though most of us never figured out what we were supposed to do with them, especially in the flatlands of Indiana - something that speaks to me. Wanna take a look?


I have something else to say about this world of ours, this so-called advanced technology and a world at our fingertips. More on that next time...

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