Struggles with Technology


I open my hand under the automatic soap dispenser in a public restroom, and after a few back and forth movements a rich white, foamy lather fills my palms. With soap spread all over my hands I place them under the faucet in anticipation of a stream of water. Back, forth, left, right, up, down, the darn thing doesn’t work. I move on to the next faucet in hopes that this one will respond to the twill of my fingers. A short burst of water spews from the faucet and then stops. Frustration is building up. Perhaps it’s me. I seem to struggle with technology every day.
My struggles date back to when I was a child. Dad came home with a console TV one day. It was the newest of its kind with knobs/dials as big as the circumference of tennis ball for on/off switch, channels, picture clarity, brightness and volume. We, the children, took turns to switch the TV on once a week to watch a show. On one such occasion when it was my turn to “play” with the knobs, the darn thing stopped working. Dad tried to fix it; technicians who really didn’t know much about how to fix such a new contraption tried to fix it. All failed. And I took it as a reflection of my own “flawed” touch. I became wary of new electronics and gadgets that had started to inundate my early teenage world. I was content with my little portable radio. If I turned it just the right way facing the window above my bed, I could listen to the latest pop music, follow the Eurovision song contests and listen to the weekly radio theater. I mastered the use of an LP player after ruining a few needles on the turntable while classmates were working wonders with tape recorders and cassette decks. The trend pretty much continued. By the time I got an answering machine, my friends had moved on to voicemail. Then came portable phones the size of shoe boxes with antennas reaching up for reception searching for the “can you hear me now?” Today, everyone is talking to her/himself with a minuscule cellular plugged into an ear. Let’s face it, by the time I realized that woofers were not barking dogs and tweeters were not chirping birds, the world had moved to tweets.
Technology was moving faster than the bullet train. With my children, I moved from Atari to Nintendo to Gameboy. As soon as one game system was bought, my son would prod me into the benefits of a newer system with more “better graphics,” memory features, controls, cables and of course a newer version of the same games because the “old” version could not be played on the “advanced” system. Pretty much like the advancements in today’s DVDs and Blue Rays. After all these years, my struggle with the VCR has not diminished. I couldn’t keep up with the many remotes. There was one for the TV, one for the VCR and one for what I had no idea. As soon as I became used to two remotes, my family sprung on me a “one remote to rule them all” to “simplify it,” they said. I still struggle.
Basic kitchen appliances posed problems. I loved my hand mixer of 25 years. It had the on/off switch, three speeds, a power boost button and a pair of beaters. My daughter presented me with a newer version with 5 speeds, beaters, professional style whisks and spatula attachments. I found myself stumped because it didn’t seem to make a difference in the desserts I prepared. Granted, it sped up the whisking process, but it also made a bigger mess with the extra attachments, “until you get the hang of it,” she said. I still struggle.
The internet has changed the way we experience things. It was not too long ago that we wrote letters to communicate with others far away, and spoke to live people on the phone. Now we all sit staring at a cold blue screen and listen to automated voices that once had a human element of warmth to them. To read the news, we would actually have to walk to pick up a newspaper. Now we hear a Bing on our phones to alert us to breaking news and instant messages.
Meanwhile, I am frantically waving my hand at the paper towel dispenser. Technology has forged ahead.

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5 Responses to Struggles with Technology

  1. SF says:

    Well my dear friend try traveling to the remote villages in France where upon opening the door to a public loo, you are faced with a simple hole in the ground where you will squat with your own kleenex ready in your hand hoping that the flushing will only be activated once you have pulled up your garments and tiptoed out of the place. Haha how I love remote rural places far away from the Orwellian way of life. Try it sometime as opposed to all those perfections that immigration has given you.

    • I know what you’re talking about SF,and one need not go into the villages of France to experience that. “Out” houses still exist globally, even in technologically advanced countries.But your and my immigrant lives are no different my friend. We share the same advancements, and then some, on different continents.

  2. yeran says:

    I really enjoyed it!!! We welcome the “new” because it makes our lives easier, but when an
    uncooperative gadget frustrates us … we long for the “old” and simpler ways … the direct
    communication with friends and relatives … and the young ones don’t even know what we’re
    talking about …

    • So true Yeran. We grew up, not too long ago, in a time when we were not afraid to touch faucets and crank towel dispensers with real cloth towels. Now the use of fingers has created an instant world, and elbow grease, in many cases is obsolete.

  3. colette says:

    Very funny and yet so true. I’m so glad I’m not the only tech challenged person fighting “Modern Technology” on a daily basis. LOVED IT Silva, you made my day.

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