We live in a “wired” age. By “wired” I am referring to the fact that we—as individuals—are relying more and more on technology in our daily lives. More and more of what we have in our homes, offices, and other places where we spend time are wired into technology. Even the cars that we drive are so technologically advanced that the majority of us cannot even fix even the simplest mechanical problems—there no longer are mechanics, there are “mechanical technicians”. Who knew working on an automobile would require a masters or PhD!
My job at the university could not be accomplished without technology. Pretty much everything that I do at the university takes technology. The majority of my communication is done through a computer—primarily email, video conferencing, and chat--and working on all the documents necessary for the job. Behind my desk is a tangle of ten to fifteen cords linking me to technology and the world beyond my office. At times it is daunting, but technology is the new frontier.
Same with home . . . technology rules! All the gadgets, appliances, and toys are wired and digital. Gone are the days of simple parts to replace a defective and non-working appliance, now circuit boards must be replaced before even beginning to see whether or not a coil on the stove needs to be replaced. I used to be an avid reader of literature, but with the advent of the “wired” state I spend more and more time reading owner’s manuals that accompany the gadgets, appliances, and toys that populate my life. These tome- sized documents—with all their technological terminology—fill a bookcase in the house. I have taken to reading this right before going to bed because they are the best sleep aid I have found.
As long as technology works it is great and most of us give it little thought. Technology almost becomes unconscious in our lives as we have become so used to it . . . as long as it is working. That is the key . . . AS LONG AS IT IS WORKING! Once it quits working we are shocked to realize how “wired” we really are to technology. Our world comes crumbling down when we cannot get to our Facebook or Twitter to read the latest dribble from our hundreds of thousands so-called friends. Our world is crushed if we cannot have that connection to the outside world through our digital phone lines and cell phones—heaven forbid if we miss a call from the Democrats or Republicans during this trash call season known as an “election year”. We go into withdrawal if we cannot access the hundreds of channels that come with our cable or satellite dish with what seems like hundreds of opportunities to watch the same Gilligan’s Island reruns over and over again. Heaven forbid that we take advantage of down time in our technological world to actually understand that a computer can do more than receive email, cruise the web, and be our only social link. Who ever knew that the computer can do more than create a game of Solitaire?
Most of us pay no attention to technology and being “wired”—we give it no mind. It is just there and life is good. Well, life is no good right now in my little world—the technology is down, crashed, lost, not working—and it sucks! It has been down since yesterday when it decided to take a vacation and the technological gurus have not yet been able to get it back up and running. They haven’t even come close. So I sit in a technological waste land, waiting (not very patiently, mind you) for some miracle of biblical portions to restore our “wired” state of being.
Now I understand that this is no big deal for most people, but we live in rural Montana. The little town we live in is a technological waste land of epic portions—we are just far enough away from so-called civilization that it takes not hours, but days to get help—a technological no man land. I think this is the place where all things technological go to die. This issue makes it difficult to get help when help is needed.
For example, I wrote earlier that our cable, internet, and landline phone service is gone. So the question becomes one of figuring out a way to call for help. The logical solution is to use the cell phone to call for help. Perfect for most anyone except those of us who live in this small rural Montana town. In order to get a minute or two of reception on the cell phone I must go to the southwest corner of the bedroom, put my nose in the corner, stand on one leg, and dial with my left hand . . . even then there are no promises that a connection will be made. What is worse is receiving calls or text messages on the cell phone in this waste land . . . we got the text message announcing the birth of our newest grandchild by text—a year after it happened! No, I’m kidding, but at times it feels like it.
Yeppers, technology is great . . . when it works. When it doesn’t work—watch out! It changes everything, especially the way one sees the world around him or herself. During this technological break in my life I have suddenly been shoved out into the world that is beyond the cubby holes when I play in the “wired” world. I am scared . . . what is that big, bright shiny thing in the sky? I sure do hope the technology technicians get us back online soon . . . I don’t think I can handle real reality for too long!