Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Typical 21st Century Morning

Just had a morning that really drove home how much "the good ole days" always look better with each passing year.

My wife has her accounting office set up in our house. Being the hip accountant she is, she has every electronic gizmo and gadget out there to process the information of her profession. Well yesterday a big storm went through and flicked lightening everywhere. And once again one of her wonderful 21st century gadgets would not work this morning.

This did not kick the day off on a very good footing for her. As shit rolls downhill, it was not a good start for me also. Apparently the printing center failed to power up when she pushed the button. No satisfying whir of mechanical gears warming up or that pleasing digital banner welcoming one to the joyous experience of printing documents. This machine has so much going on that when it fails, she can't fax, scan, print, or urinate.

We both know I am only barely smart enough to turn these new machines on, but I get the call anyway. Seems I am the avenue of last resort. She knows that when I tackle one of these electronic wonders, it is a 50/50 proposition it will survive the ordeal.

So I get my favorite flathead screwdriver and head up to her office. After a few moments of debriefing on what she had done so far to make it work again I proceeded to open the damn thing up. Apparently, the folks at HP have heard of me. They successfully designed this wonder machine to ward off my hamfisted efforts at exposing the inner workings. With my previously hardwon experience on the breaking point of plastic clips, I stopped before I broke one.

The machine was just too new for me to justify laying into it. So instead I blew out the parts I could expose, put everything back and went to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. As I was stirring in the cream and sugar, I hear my wife, "It's on." Apparently she had been messing with the wrong power supply. Easy to do as there is a tangled nest of wires, power supplys, and other wiring hardware buried under that table.

Which brings me to my point. I am old enough to remember when people used pens and pencils, not palm pilots and mini computer printer machines they pull out of their bag at lunch so they can finish that novel. I remember when folks often had only one phone in the house and had to share their line with 10 other folks. And I am not old. Not real old anyway.

This age of electronic wonders has turned all of us into junkies. We have come to rely on the instant access to information, people, and things that when it is interrupted or not available, we start jonesing hard like a heroin addict looking for their daily fix but there is none on the street. Today proved that all progress has it's Yang to go along with it's Ying. The view through my rose colored glasses is not muddied but crystal clear.

And in an effort to regain some perspective, when I turn this damn thing off, I am headed to the back forty to test my powers at terraforming. With rake, hand saw, and cutters, I will prove that I don't rely on electricity or petroleum for all my fun.

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