I recently switched to using the Google Docs app for my writing, upon recommendation of a friend when my five year old laptop was showing signs of impending demise. I can hear Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott’s (Scotty) voice, “We’re givin’ er all we’ve got Captain! She can’t take much more of this, she’s gonna blow!” It randomly makes this loud whirling rocket engine sound and everything freezes forcing me to do a hard reset while muttering an invocation of cuss words. Hard reset. This is part of our vocabulary now. I love the app because it allows me to back up all my writing, and it automatically saves as you write so your work is never lost, considering I do the majority of my writing on my 5 year old IPad, it makes me feel secure in knowing that I can pick up my work from any device should this crap out too. Now, what I hate about this is that everything is online. So if we lose Internet, like as a society, everything is lost. The other thing that I grow increasingly frustrated with is because we do everything online these days with literally everything from banking, to Social Media, to your job; you have to remember passwords. So many passwords. I’m drowning in fucking passwords.
As a writer, with no publisher (in the traditional sense) like so many of us, just trying to get our work out there and reach as wide of an audience as we can, we have to share our work in as many forums as possible. When I publish a blog post, it goes to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest and then finally I post it to Reddit. That’s 7 passwords not including the one for WordPress. If you want to use an image that isn’t your own, there’s another password to Pixabay or ShutterStock or whatever site you use.
When I was employed, I worked mostly on the phones. Call Centers. Or what I refer to as, “The bowels of the job industry: Purgatory” . As phone slaves, we had to use several programs daily, each one would have a different password and expiry period. You’d be changing passwords every couple of weeks. “Don’t write these down or tell anyone” they’d stress, but I didn’t give a shit, I wrote them down. I had to. I didn’t want to spend hours on hold with tech every couple of weeks to get passwords reset. Ridiculous. Not too mention a HUGE waste of my time.
Have you ever thought about how much time we spend checking our emails, social media, waiting for pages to load and yelling at our computers, smartphones and tablets when they crash or don’t work properly.
I feel like our lives are being sucked away by these futile and inescapable chores. So not only do we have to do everything we as humans do like work, take care of the home, grocery shop, cook, clean, raise a family, pay bills, but now we have to remember 300 passwords and everything must be documented and shared and liked and backed up. Jesus H. Rodriguez! A day of leisure turns into 3 Facebook posts, an Instagram post, a couple of tweets, several texts or emails, rebooting your computer several times so you can log in to Netflix and watch a movie. Don’t forget to thumbs up everything you watch. Hey why don’t you leave a comment or a rating while you’re at it. For the love of God, the simplest of things can turn into a complicated technological nightmare. I can’t even take a nap without hearing all the different notifications going off on several devices. Sure I keep them on silent mostly, but there was this cat video I had to watch and I forgot to turn down the volume when I was done.
When I was a kid in the 80s we had none of this shit. It was a landline phone call if you had something important to say. We weren’t passive aggressively bringing flattering photos of ourselves to school and leaving them in random places to see if people liked them or not. If we weren’t home, you didn’t reach us. Period. Some people had answering machines but most didn’t and there was no voicemail. I had 2 TV channels until 1986. We got tanned from being outside whenever the sun was out. We played and had imaginations, and the only “computers” any of us had, were the Atari, Colecovision, Vic 20 or the impressive, Commodore 64. We managed. It was so much simpler and less stressful. I can’t imagine how much stress these young kids are growing up with now. Never knowing that freedom of being disconnected. Not constantly being subjected to judgement, online bullying, and the joy of using their brains for creativity rather than simply memorizing passwords and tasks.
If I knew then what I know now I would have never taken that peace of mind for granted. I may have resisted more when welcoming all these “time saving” and “convenient” technological advancements into my life. Once you start, it’s hard to just back off because it has become necessary for everyday life now. Look at the people you might know personally for instance. We all know someone who “Isn’t on Facebook” or “Doesn’t text” and we’re all thinking, “What does that person have to hide?” It’s never, “Oh they just want a drama-free stress-free life”, it’s always “they must be a pedo” or “They must be cheating on their spouse.” It’s become sinister somehow. So technology has made us more suspicious of our friends and neighbors in addition to enraging us and invading us.
I think I can safely say, that I’m not alone in fantasizing about living in a simpler time. I think we all have this love/hate relationship with technology. It has helped in so many ways and enriched our lives in many regards, but I also believe it has not only made us lazier, but responsible for things like the breakdown of social etiquette and manners. People are just plain rude and ignorant to others. It can provide a safe haven for criminal activity to grow and spread, it furthers the lack of individual responsibility if we can hurt someone anonymously. It promotes and glorifies shallow lifestyles and shit that doesn’t really matter. It tells the weak minded and uninformed what to believe or be outraged at.
If I had to rate my involvement with technology I would give it only 2 stars out of 5. If I had to leave a comment it would read;
Not A Great Experience
Thanks for the instant communication. I really enjoy the wealth of information at my fingertips it makes me look like less of a tool when I interact with other humans. I really love the memes and gifs, and YouTube and Netflix are swell. The rest of it though, is absolute bullshit.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,