Back to the 80’s

I just received an email regarding some products I ordered. It said that my order had been collected and it would be in the mail tomorrow. They really could have waited. They could have enjoyed a day off, instead of scurrying around the warehouse to collect my crap.

Now that we have experienced the technology and convenience of the 21st Century, I would be OK to give it back. Well, that’s my opinion about it all. The Internet has created a monster of society. A place where people have to work even harder than before to satisfy their consumers. Businesses can now do paperwork at light speed, so they get to do more of it. There is no more waiting. If there is some time to wait then there is surely more light speed work you can do while you are waiting.

It has always fascinated me that we wanted technology in order to make things easier, but then rejected how easy it could have been. Instead of allowing it to make time we adapted and picked up the pace. There in lies the problem. If we moved at the pace of yesterday with the technology of today we would have four day work weeks and a whole lot of vacation time. In response to that Utopia we decided that we should just do more and more with every hour that technology had shaved off.

Think about how much time it took the processes of yesterday in comparison with the technology of today. The reality is that we can probably finish a day’s work from 1970 in under an hour today. Our response was not to go home and put our feet up. Our response was to do more work.

I sometimes pause and think about the fax machine era. The slow feed of pages into the machine and then calling New York to see if they got it all in one piece. I think about when things closed for the day and you couldn’t get hold of someone on the phone because you couldn’t find them. For those who don’t know what that means, there used to be a time where people could not be found because their phone was at home on a base with a cord. You had to wait for them to come home to get the message. Unless you had their beeper number and they could find a pay phone.

Then I think further back into an era I don’t know much about. The time we hear about where the only transmission of documents was via postal mail or courier service.  There must have been a lot of waiting for that!

It’s not that I hate technology as much as I hate how people have allowed there to be no more time in between. The 20th Century seemed to find people inserting a lot of excuses to take a good break. They were waiting for the fax machine to finish so they took a break or they did some light filing in between. Now there are no more paper files.

A better example would be the infamous smoke break. I see it today in a country continuously stamping out  the smokers. Employers turning their nose up at cigarette smokers because that means they will – without question – have to take a break during the day. If you do not keep a smoking habit then why go outside? More time for you to put your nose to the grindstone and slave, slave, slave.

The breaks are so limited out here in the 21st Century. I have no doubt that for most of this I’m talking out of my ass. The people who really experienced work “back in the day” probably felt just as busy and just as burdened as we do today.

That’s why I’m OK with giving it back but not giving it away! If I had a magic Genie wish to make I would never wish it back to the way it was without the knowledge of how it is today. Knowing how it is today is the only way we may be able to appreciate how it was before.

There is such a ruminating delicious taste found in letter writing. To think it carefully over as you write and then to wait for your friend’s response to arrive. It’s like the typewriter. It was not easy to delete what you’ve written, so you better mean every stroke you make.

I love technology. Technology is good. I love having a computer in my pocket. I love all of the things the doctor can do to check vitals without hurting me. I love streaming music into speakers without wires. I love cars that sync to my every preference and immediately begin playing my Soundcloud. I love controlling the house’s thermostat while I’m hundreds of miles away. But I can’t lie about how much I would enjoy knowing that there is no more Facebook, Twitter, or vicious light speed emailing. To lavish myself in the privacy of writing a letter between intimate friends. To not feel as if life is lived on a soap box by force and not by choice. That is so long as I remember how it was before the Genie made it all go away.

And of course I would bitch just as much now as I would if I could be transported back with the knowledge of today. Humans love to complain. To have to get up to change the channel. To not be able to preheat the oven via wireless connection. To warm up or cool down your car by actually having to go outside to turn it on. Rectal thermometers. Humans adore complaining. Humans are born to be uncomfortable no matter what technological comfort they have been awarded. It’s what we do.

It’s not nostalgia. It’s never nostalgia. It’s longing for certain things which we endlessly give up in exchange for betterness.

The Artist D, January 2017

The Artist D, January 2017

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