I am addicted to technology. I will admit it without shame. My coffee maker wakes me up with the rich aroma of home brewed sweetness at the precursor moment I stumble out of the shower and my car comforts me at the end of a long day with the self-adjusting lumbar support and air jets to cool or heat my feet. I depend on technology to help me through my day. Gadgets, gizmos and doohickeys decorate my life with an amazing array of convenience not found in my parents' age. Naturalists want me to return to a simple way of life but I could not imagine myself in an era as recent as twenty years ago without the technological advances that we see today.
The progress that the medical field alone has made in the last twenty years is amazing. I can now go to the store and buy a drug that can reduce my swelling, alleviate my pain, and assuage my fever in two simple, easy-on-the-stomach, gel caplets. I have received vaccines against childhood diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella. I have been taught over the years not to let children eat lead-containing paint chips, not to use asbestos in my home, or rub alcohol on babies to bring down a fever. I can perform CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and basic first aid. My doctor can see my heart valves with an ultrasound, diagnose my ailments with an Open MRI, and tell me that my child does not have Down's Syndrome by using a form of gene-mapping. Also, if a problem ever arises that requires surgery, forget the invasive procedures of yesteryear. The techniques of microsurgery have become so refined and so common that my father's six-inch scar from his two kidney surgeries would have been non-existent if performed just ten years later.
My vehicles have become much more posh and luxurious since I have reached the age where I could own and operate a car. I can choose from a list of options that include air conditioning, power windows and locks, power and heated seats, heated mirrors, and self-tinting rear mirrors, Global Positioning Systems, keyless entry, CD / cassette player, TV with a VCR / DVD player, and even A / C outlets to plug in my portable hair dryer and my laptop. Also, today's sedan can save my hard earned money by averaging over 30 miles-per-gallon on the highway even while all these options are running at full blast. My little portable home also includes space-age tinted windows that slow the baking process of the black interior in the hot sun and more nooks and crannies for storage than my new closet organizer.
Automobile manufacturers are also seeking to ensure my peace of mind. The 2003 model vehicles are featuring dual front airbags, canopy airbags that fall from the ceiling upon impact, and more durable frames with more efficient crumple zones all mean to guard my family and me against our companion drivers. If an accident does occur, the OnStar system will automatically notify the local police and doctors of my position while calling the cell phone of my choice to check on my health and condition. Also included with OnStar is a roadside assistance service that will send a handy man to change my flat, free my keys from inside the locked car, jump start my car after I have left the light on the vanity mirror on all day, and tell me that my self-infected acts of stupidity are perfectly acceptable as long as I continue to pay their monthly fee.
Once I arrive home, a plethora of devices await to provide and enhance my comfort and ensure convenience for my daily activities. I can stay connected with my cell phone, personal computer, email, Internet, pager, and my very own Palm Pilot. My central heating and air keeps the house at a constant 72 degrees. I am never bored while connected to the Internet 24 hours a day and if I do reach the end of the net, I always have my Digital Cable TV and a Nintendo 64. My tennis shoes are engineered to make my jumps higher, my running faster , and my back hurt less. My dishwasher scrubs even the nastiest dishes that are caked with microwaved-on food, while my self-scooping litter box cleans up after my cats.
I try to imagine myself staying at home without the ease that my toys and appliances bring. I would start my morning by brewing my coffee in a percolator and watching it to ensure the gas flame did not burn the bottom of the pot. Once this was completed, I would go take my lukewarm shower and get dressed in my freshly starched and ironed clothing. Once I was ready for work, I would go crank the Chevy and drive it to the gas station. After it was full, I would head to work fifty miles away. To complete a hard day at the office, I would massage the cramps out of my hand so that I could put down the pencil I have been tallying numbers with all day and walk out to that blasted Chevrolet. I would have to remember to take off my suit jacket so that I do not fry in the infernal Atlanta heat and smog on the way home. Finally, I would get home and pull off my high heels. I would start boiling the water and turn on the oven so that I can cook dinner. For the cats, they could live for another day if I do not scoop their box. Somehow, I am not overcome with nostalgia and I manage to shake myself out of my daydream.
After all, we do live in an era of convenience. Our tools and toys help us to achieve goals that a nation of over-achievers has set for us by giving us more time to work. However, I do not have to worry about all this convenience making me fat and lazy. I have an exercise machine to help me avoid that.