Technology, A Love/Hate Relationship
Published 4:30 pm Thursday, December 2, 2010
It's almost strange just how much we've come to depend on technology. We're in the gotta-have-it-now generation and, unfortunately, I was reminded (not too subtly) that, yes, it now includes old school me.
The sound reverberated outside of the office the other day.
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In rapid succession-though I'm not sure the order-there was a click, the lights went off and the absolute unthinkable happened.
The computer shut down.
And there was darkness all over the world.
Hyperbole, perhaps, but were it not for the rays of sunshine peering in through the window, it actually would have been literally dark where I sat. In a way, I really was in the dark, disconnected-the desk phone couldn't ring and there was no internet connection so I couldn't check the price of crude oil, look for an updated injury report on the Redskins or check email.
The four clocks on the wall kept marching on with time, thanks to batteries, but I was thrown so far into the past that I was reduced to scratching out words on a notepad for a column.
Now that's too old school.
Apparently, the boom we all heard came from a power service failure just outside the office and knocked a few electrical customers off line. The Herald was just one of the unfortunate few.
Back inside, so much for wordsmithing, editing or anything else in the manner to which we have grown accustomed to for roughly three and a half hours.
We were shockingly powerless-a rudderless boat drifting toward a deadline waterfall.
Technology is, assuredly, a two-edged motherboard, making our lives both easier and more complicated at the same time. While we never want to go back to Ben Franklin's non-electric version of a printing press, computers and quick Internet fact checks make for a more efficient operation.
But when you pull the plug on even one part, the whole can shut down like a master control switch. And while our issue was the loss of power, it's true that the more gadgets a contraption has, the more parts that can fail.
Why live in such a house of cards? On days like this, it's easy wonder: why not turn the clock back?
But then, I suppose, we'd have to wind it.
And how would we function without emails?
Or how could we live without cell phones?
Moot questions, to be sure. Technology and its glitches are here to stay. I think we're a bit like the character Alfred P. Doolittle in the movie My Fair Lady. The common dustman came into a sum of money that, for him, changed his life in an undesirable way. Still, Doolittle the philosopher concluded, he hadn't the heart to give it up.
We can only wonder (and perhaps worry) what gadget they'll invent next that will make lives “easier.”