Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

Like so many people I know, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Some aspects are easy while others are just too complicated to wrap my simple brain around. For example, I enjoy the daily conveniences that my iPhone has to offer, yet I have to have my husband walk me through the process of syncing it to iTunes because 4 years later I still don't get it. And while I more-often-than-not despise technology, I can agree that there are pros and cons to each new advancement that is made.

Back in the day (oh dear Lord, here she goes...), things like GPS didn't exist. You had a giant fold-out map (that took up the entire contents of your car once unfolded) or you'd actually stop and ask people for directions. Sure, having a British lady telling you where to turn makes traveling much easier, until you find yourself in a super sketchy part of northern Illinois after being stuck in the car for three hours while you're 8 months pregnant with a bladder that is about to explode. Seriously, can you JUST find me a route back to the highway instead of constantly "recalculating?!"

And while it can be annoying at times, I have to admit that technology does have its extreme advantages. For example, having the ability to take, edit, and print photos from my phone has turned out to be a lifesaver. If this convenience were not readily available at all times, Taylor would have about five baby pictures (which will likely remain on my SD card in my camera forever), and we would have zero video footage of her since we don't even own a camcorder. And while I'm being Positive Patty, I'll go even further and acknowledge the vast role that technology has played in keeping our wide-spread family in contact with one another. My husband's family split is between Idaho and Tennessee, and we love that we are able to keep in touch via photo streaming and Skype. Because, let's face it, plane tickets aren't cheap and getting my husband to take time off work is nearly impossible (unless it's 75 degrees out and someone suggests playing 18 holes).

And even though I enjoy the occasional Skype session, I will be the first to state that I hate, hate, triple hate talking on the phone. My friends and family know that if they want a response, the last thing they should do is call me. Which is why I absolutely adore e-mail. Although I realize it can be impersonal, it's so much easier when trying to communicate with a large group of people. Especially when it comes to my job. For those of you who also work in a typical office setting, I'm sure you can appreciate the convenience that e-mail offers. What I can't stand, however, are those people who send an e-mail and then immediately follow it up with a phone call. The entire premise of an e-mail is to allow the recipient to respond at his/her convenience and unless you want some half-ass answer, please allow me to take the time to thoroughly read the entire document and then think about a proper response. I don't understand why this concept is so difficult for some people, but I assure you such idiocracy does exist.

And while not everyone grasps the concepts as they should, I understand that technology will only continue to expand. Even to my dismay. Today, computers are everywhere. They're in our pockets and vehicles, and - quite frankly - it's too much for me.  I don't like feeling like I'm always accessible, and I hate that we have become so dependent upon technology that if we don't receive an immediate response, it's like the world has come to an end. It frustrates me to my core when I go out to dinner with my husband or a group of friends and the first thing they do is set their cell phone on the table. Really?! Am I such bad company that you feel the need to text/Facebook/Instagram/[insert other random app name here] during our brief meal together? Call me old fashioned, but I think it would do us all some good to disconnect for a while. Prior to constantly having everything we ever needed at our fingertips, people managed to live just fine. Growing up, I didn't have a cell phone. My parents had a single land line, and texting didn't exist. People actually memorized phone numbers - they didn't rely on an electronic device to remember things for them. It was a simpler time, and, occasionally, I actually miss it.