... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

374: scrubbing washboards and starching collars?

There is a natural progression in technology towards previously independant functions and usages merging into single machines. The television, stereo, video player and telephone all inhabit the computer. The television, stereo, video player and computer all inhabit the telephone. Shopping trolleys, stop watches, alarm clocks, calanders and electronic adding machines even seem to have squeezed themselves into computers and telephones. For me the ongoing struggle for adult-attained comfort is not just one for spouse, property, clarity of thought, family, publication, and a nice whiskey and a home-cooked meal, but also one for the seperation of these technologies. I want the record player; the room with furniture focused around an isolated wi-fi free TV with video and DVD; the writing desk with word processing computer and no internet. Wikipedia is incredible, beautiful, wonderful, right, and wrong, but it is a poor substitute for a private library of reference books and oft' fingered favourite tomes.

Case in point: having added the full stop on the previous paragraph, for no good reason whatsoever my mind immediately urged to load Spotify and see if The Beatles were on there. They might be, but probably aren't. Either way I must not check until I have completed this blog post. Facebook and twitter load much quicker, and make even more convenient distractions. Before these things existed I'm sure writers (and everyone else) found other ways to waste time. Or was everyone busy scrubbing washboards and starching collars, digging potatos and whipping oxen? What was the ol'skool preffered method of scratching the proverbial arse? Playing pick-up-sticks, hitting up the laudanum, making babies, and publishing pamphlets? Complaining that the modern flat phonogram discii just don't have the same warm sound as the old phonautograph? They must have done something (or, indeed(!), not done anything) – they can't have all been working and having meaningful conversation day in day out.

I'm just jealous that I can't play No Mercy on an N64 emulator on my phone. At the moment I can't even make calls or send those telegram writings. Or that I can't use my television screen as a means of taking part in interactive games set in virtual environments, where I can take on the role of super spy or special ops soldier infiltrating enemy bases and penthouse offices. If I could I wouldn't be here writing this. I wouldn't be wondering if The Beatles are on Spotify, wouldn't be thinking about going to bed, wouldn't be checking twitter for links to intersting articles about stuff, and would barely be breathing in and out. I would be in the other room glued to the X-Box 360 (for that is what I would have) playing some stealthy secret mission game for hour after hour, as the 70% water of my body slowly turned foetid. So is technology a good thing or a bad thing? Stupid question.

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