We bought a new car in March. We hadn’t bought a new car since 2005, and before that, 1999. So, you can imagine how bewildered we were….correction, I was…my husband took it all in without so much as a blink….when the car salesman introduced us to all the gadgets on our new car and how they worked.
To be honest, I was intimidated by it all. The alert beeps for your blind spot, for warning me when any exterior part of my car was close to touching another car or any other object or person, the annoying humming sound that vibrated me into panic mode if I wandered an inch over the dividing lines on the highway, and all the lit up little icons on the dashboard and little screen.
It was overwhelming at first, but once I drove the car the first time, I relaxed a bit, even if I didn’t know how everything worked outside your regular immediate buttons and such.
It got me thinking about the technological advances over the years and decades since I was a child. I grew up during my elementary school years with my parents purchasing one of the first VHS recorders. My growing up years was also the time when TV remote controls came out and cordless telephones.
Pong, the first video game I remember came out, followed by Atari, for which my parents bought. Who could forget playing those video games with those ancient joysticks that caused hand and thumb pain within a couple hours? Good old Atari games like Astroids, Centipede, Pac-Man, Maze Craze, Space Invaders, Frogger, and Pit Fall.
In the music realm, boom boxes were in, that were a combination of radio and tape cassette player, with a mic jack and two speakers. And the Walkman became popular shortly after, I think.
Dad’s Commodore 64 with its permanent blue screen sat on his desk in my teen years. When I was sixteen, I used that computer to type up my first novel.
I remember when my parents bought me a cell phone around 1993 for me to have in case my car broke down. It was bulky and weighed a ton.
And I distinctly remember my first caller ID. None of my friends or family had one at that time. It was so cool being able to see who called at that time because I lived in my apartment then and could tell when a guy I liked called, but he didn’t know I knew. Haha!
And then came the CDs, DVDs, desk top computers, etc. All of those new gadgets were pretty cool. They didn’t make us too lazy. But I’d have to say, that’s changed.
I’ve been watching many TED Talks on our addiction to our computers and phones, and also, the gadgets that think for us, like our car’s lights shutting on and off on their own, the doors locking and unlocking on their own, warning lights and beeping sounds to alert us to a danger of a car too close to ours, and the like.
Our cell phones keeping our appointments, waking us up for work in the morning, storing all of our friends and family members’ phone numbers, telling us how many calories the meal is that’s sitting in front of us at lunch or dinner. You know what I’m talking about.
These are all very convenient, easy, and helpful. But they also make us lazy and lose our ability to remember/memorize things, such as an appointment date or a friend’s phone number.
I don’t even know my family member’s cell numbers, except my husband’s. I don’t know my sister’s or my mother’s by heart. That is truly pathetic. When I was a teen up through my thirties, I could dial a number no more than twice, and it would be stuck in my memory from then on. Because I don’t have to remember these numbers since they’re stored in my phone, they aren’t memorized.
Now, I realize when one gets older, a little help in the memory department is needed, but our brain’s memory can be boosted by walking or doing jigsaw puzzles, for example.
So, I ignore focusing solely on the camera on the small screen in my car and physically look behind me when backing up, and make sure I still look toward the blind spot before moving into another lane. I manually lock my car doors when I get into my car most especially in parking lots. I think it’s the safe thing to do for us women going grocery shopping and other places by ourselves.
I don’t think we can rely so much on computers. They do malfunction at times, have glitches, and can be hacked. Obviously, you can guess I’m not one of those people who is anxiously awaiting buying or traveling in a driverless car. I think I’ll skip that, thank you very much!
In my psychology course I took a couple of years ago at my university, I learned the twenty-first century sedentary lifestyle is not normal or healthy for the human body and mind. We are meant to move and move around often, and use our minds critically. If we’re not careful, we’ll become like the folks in the Pixar movie, WALL-E. Was that not a glimpse into the future, or what?
We have to find ways to exercise these days. Join a gym. Join an exercise class. Buy exercise equipment. Pencil in jogging several times a week. When in the generations before this age, people walked or rode their bikes to work, worked outside, walked to stores, opened their cars’ hatchbacks, manually rolled up and down their cars’ windows, lifted their garage doors, and got up to turn off their TVs.
Since being a sloth is too familiar to me, I struggle to get up the energy, and it’s even harder because of my time spent on the computer for too many hours a day. It is my goal to keep doing things that jog my memory, such as walking and doing jigsaw puzzles, and doing what I said above with regards to my car. I even started doing tai chi two weeks ago. It brings me stress relief and serenity. Do you do anything to keep your mind working and body in motion to counter today’s sedentary lifestyle?