once again, I am amazed by the technology we have at our fingertips. Truly amazed. I want to say those things like “kids these days don’t know how good they have it” and “when I was a kid we didn’t have (whatever)”
Mind you, I am not pining for the Good Old Days. I don’t miss the manual typewriter on which I learned to type. Nor the white-out, nor having to retype the entire paper because of one or two misspelled words in the first of 29 paragraphs. I do love me a computer with spell-check and the squiggly blue underline that questions the grammar of a sentence. Often it’s just as I want it to be and I tell the blue line to take a hike, but sometimes it is helpful.
I am amazed and delighted by very pedestrian appliances like the washing machine. I know, everyone I know either has one or has access to one and they aren’t remarkable at all. But think about it…without them you’d be slapping your underwear in a river, or rubbing them up and down on a board in a bucket. Now? No. you throw them in a barrel, add a scoop of soap and punch a few buttons, and 45 minutes later you have clean clothes. You can even throw them in another barrel, punch a few buttons, and 45 minutes later have dry clothes. Having to fold them, in the grand scheme of things, is hardly even worth mentioning. Even if you have 19 kids. (if you have that many kids, let the older ones do it while you go do something else.)
We have (for most of us) access to food. Or we should. I have read about the Food Deserts in major cities and let me tell you, with as much as we have in this country, with trucks and farms and everything, there should not be a food desert anywhere. It shouldn’t exist. I read about people who were doing something about that here: Veggie Van.
But I have to tell you, the thing that amazes and delights me more than anything, is the ability to talk to people IN REAL TIME from places on the other side of the world! CRAAAZY! Ok, I had a pen pal for many years, I wrote about that a couple of posts ago. And I wrote about looking for another one. I found several, and have some fantastic correspondence going on now. Some of it is on the website where I connected with them, a couple of them are via email, and one is snail mail (she collects stamps and loves the Art of the Written Letter). Over the past few days’s I’ve had an ongoing conversation with a gentleman from Bhutan, who wants some help with his English grammar. Mind you, school is taught in English over there, but he has recognized that his grammar isn’t perfect, and as a teacher, he wants to improve it. In the mean time, I am trying to learn a couple of words in Dongzkha, but given that it is a very tonal language, and one tone wrong could mean a completely different word, it is very difficult for me. I will be happy to be able to say “hello” and not “you smell funny” How amazing is it that I can converse about language, philosophy (he’s Buddhist) and child psychology with someone who’s 10 hours ahead of me? Nuts. that’s what it is. Beautiful mindboggling nuts.
A man in Brazil is teaching me very basic Portuguese in exchange for learning how to ask for directions and order from a menu in English. A woman in Japan wants to know how to make tacos and I want to know how to make gyoza. Another woman in Siberia (Yakutsk) taught me about the Summer festival in her town, called Yssyakh, and showed me pictures of it. It looks a lot like our Native American pow-wows. A woman in Rotterdam and I talk abut our kids. My world has expanded outside of this little town in this small part of the country. I have, of course, always known there was so much out there, and I love to read about it, but to get to talk to someone and learn that Tomar cafezinho, Café da manhã is the first thing I would say in the morning, if I lived in Sao Paolo, brings the world a little bit closer.
There is a degree of sifting through the sawdust required, in order to find some real people, but it doesn’t take long to figure out how.
One of my classes in school requires videos to be made, demonstrating particular types of management tasks- like disciplinary actions (they aren’t called that), or final warnings, before a firing (it’s not called that). Using the camera on my laptop, editing on the computer, and downloading onto Youtube are all part of it. Think about it. I can write a script on my computer, print it out, and then record it. Then I can tell my computer to save it someplace Out There, and my instructor can look at it, record the grade on his computer with comments, and I can look at that. All within an hour’s time, with him over there and me right here. Crazy and Amazing.
I can warm up food in the microwave, using the same bowl I’m going to eat it from, without dirtying up a pot. I can go to the store and buy something by sticking a piece of plastic in a little box and it takes some numbers out of my bank account and put them in the store’s bank account. (has it ever occurred to you our financial system is nothing but a bunch of numbers that get switched around and traded for eggs or gasoline?) (this is why I like to barter. It’s more concrete and I like concrete)
Even medical stuff! My little dog, Rusty, has back pain from time to time. I can take him to the vet, where a technician gets a wand and waves a red light over his back. I swear that is all it looks like. I stuck my hand in the red light and didn’t feel a thing. But I could see him visibly relax. So I looked it up. And yes. There’s some science behind it. Amazing. Who figured that out?
Cell phones, bluetooth stuff, wireless internet, gracious…internet PERIOD…wireless or not. Think about it! We live in an amazing world.