(This first appeared in the Sunday Guardian)
In every person’s life, there comes a time when you realize that the world around you is changing too fast. So you have to ask the world to stop the car so that you can get down and start your slow walk towards obscurity. Of course, this is not the easy path. Many before me have dared to traverse it but haven’t been able to make it safely to the other side. I pledge to never forget the sacrifices made by those that came before me. Whether it was brave grandmothers who spent all their golden years trying to load a YouTube video of their grandson performing at his college talent competition along with his acapella group on their ancient computer with 256MB RAM and a 4GB hard drive, or those brave connoisseurs of culture who spent all their money collecting vinyl records for which they didn’t even have a compatible turntable. I know that it won’t be easy. But when has blazing a trail and leaving others to follow in your stead been easy? If you don’t believe me, ask Buddha. (Disclaimer: The buddha doesn’t provide actual solutions to your questions because of the whole ‘look inside your own self for all the answers’ thing he had going on. Warning: Don’t try this at home. That one time I tried looking inside myself and was disgusted by what I found.)
This day come for me recently when I found that my favourite texting application would be introducing something called ‘voice messaging.’ Using your own voice to communicate through a phone – what a unique idea! Why didn’t anyone think of this before? I was outraged at this development because the whole point of modern technology is to help people avoid all human interaction. For example, if I ‘interact’ with another person using just my voice how will I let them know I laughed at their joke without the use of LOL? How will someone I send a voice message to determine that I am angry with them unless I also include a red smiley of a serious face?
What’s next? Keeping your phone down when you’re in a restaurant and talking to the person you’re meeting for dinner? Making eye contact with strangers in a waiting room? Not looking at the small teevee on the dashboard while driving down a highway? Walking up to the colleague at work who sits in the next cubicle to resolve an issue instead of sending him passive aggressive emails that complicate everything? Not letting everyone in the movie theatre know that I’m a douchebag by not putting my phone on ‘silent’ because I might receive an important call? I, for one, refuse to walk down this slippery slope.
My disillusionment with modern technology probably started when I discovered video games that require actual physical exertion. Is nothing sacred anymore? The primary purpose of video games is to enable you to avoid all sorts of physical exertion. Back in my day, all you needed to do while playing a video game was sit back on the sofa, use one hand to move the joystick that controlled your player while indiscriminately stuffing various snack foods into your mouth with the other. Nowadays, people play video games which require them to simulate the action they want their player to mimic in the game. If you want to play tennis on these newfangled video game consoles, you probably need to have the expertise and experience of a grand slam titleholder to win a match. It’s just like being there! If I wanted to be there, I would, you know, go there. I don’t buy your crappy video games so that they can remind me of my lack of physical ability. What part of “inside good, outside bad” is hard to understand? Sheesh! Even being lazy requires so much hard work these days.
So that’s it, folks. I refuse to comply with technological advancements anymore. I don’t want to wake up one day and find out that not only have my eyelids become a google glass clone, but whenever I think about asking for directions, an angry British ladyee automatically shouts them into my ears.
Now please excuse me while I spend the next year and a half trying to reboot my old 486 desktop.