Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Thought on Technology … Again

Dali once said : “Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.

I believe the same thing about technology. We cannot escape it: from the way we fill up our tanks, to the way we dial numbers from a pay phone anymore, to the way we work the credit card machines at WalMart, we are surrounded by it, and we would not make it through the day, had we not a clue how to use it.

I realized we cannot escape technology any longer, when about a month ago, my 58 year old aunt was … texting me at 2 AM from Paris. I realized that if a 58 year old Romanian woman can learn how to … text of all things, and she is bright enough to get an international roaming phone to be able to use it anywhere in the world, we cannot help but being … well… techy!

But there is a difference with me between need and obsession. I have a cell phone, a cable connection, internet, a desktop and a laptop (and a work laptop, so I guess I AM a victim of computers there, if you wish). I have a dvd player, digital camera, and a video camera, and dad is getting a dvd recording video camera for his birthday. I have an MP3 player, with 100 songs tops, and plenty happy with it.

I don’t have and I am not planning to get any of these any time soon: a flat screen tv, a blackberry, a palm pilot (are those outdated? – not sure!!), any sort of video game device, including a WII, an IPod nor its millions hook-ups, digital cable, a digital picture frame.

I am contemplating to get, maybe, if I wake up on the left side of the bed one morning, MAYBE: a dvd recorder -vhs combo, a digital camera that’s more than 3.2 MegaPixel, which is what I have now.

And yet, although most people around me have all these gadgets – some of which I have not even mentioned – I don’t feel deprived. I also don’t feel deprived (annoyed is what I am) when the random guy wants to “text” me (I am still having trouble using that word as a verb – but then again, I am a broken record here) and I tell him I don’t text. Then they look at me like I ate their steak, meaning: “What planet am I from??”. A planet where we like to meet and chat over dinner and a glass of wine – that’s what planet.

I feel pretty accomplished, and pretty happy without all the other “stuff”. And let me tell you, I have been fortunate to dine with princes and paupers. I have been to births and funerals of people who make anywhere between millions of dollars a year and minus thousands of dollars a year. I have seen families in laughter and in sorrow, from all walks of life. And at the very end of the day, or life, all that matters is humanity!

We all cry, and laugh the same. The pain is similar to all in all walks of life. What unites us all has been sown millions of years ago in each and every one of us, and we inherit it the minute we take our first breath. We cannot escape it, and we’re not going to find it at Best Buy. That, I know. What we do need is to attend to that: to what’s permanent, and to what’s human, and to what makes us whole as a being. The rest are just accessories.

So, with that said, I will keep jumping in my 2001 Toyota in search of that humanity rather than search of the next gadget; my Toyota with crank-up windows, and no remote power locks, I will keep using just 50 peak minutes a month on my cell, which has no camera, nor “texting” capabilities, to call for emergencies, and I will listen to my music on cd’s in my car, without the XM radio nor the mp3 player hooked up anywhere.

Now, maybe, just maybe, I might get a 12 MegaPixel camera to accompany me in my wanderings … But just maybe. In the meantime, I’ll just look for the perfect light, like Ansel Adams used to do!

This is a shot of the Capitol on my recent trip to DC. I really like it: it’s … unsettled but such a presence, much like me, lately…

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