Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Operating Instructions: Part 1

I am the type of person that likes instant gratification. Is it a product of my socialization in in this era? Or have I always been this way? Somehow, I feel that I actually had patience, Once-Upon-a-Time. But since the memory is pretty fuzzy, I’ll just have to concentrate on the now. The urgent now. The - “why can’t I open this bloody CD wrapping” - now.

My husband and I took on the responsibilities of children and pets - real living things. Creatures need things. Food and drink, clothing, education, healthcare, you know, the works. Most of us get this. You bring home a living thing, even a houseplant, and like…wow, you really have to take care of it. And though childrearing, for example, is a huge responsibility, you deal with it all, sometimes quite well.

All this said, the point I am eventually coming to, is that I already spend a goodly amount of energy on things that need me. Kids, husband, cat, the living things, and then some of the intangibles: Paying bills, calling repair people, just being alive. So, I’d appreciate a little cooperation. I’d like to bring home a purchase that doesn’t need a lot of effort. Something that gives real meaning to the phrase, ’low maintenance’.

I want to buy Tupperware™ that doesn’t need to be soaked in warm water in order to make the stupid lids fit on correctly. I want to have a cell phone that already knows my friends’ phone numbers and doesn’t need me to sit for hours programming all that junk in. I want a frying pan that doesn’t need to be “Seasoned”. What the heck is that all about anyway?

How about getting a perm, that doesn’t need special instructions and special shampoos. What ever happened to “Lather, rinse, repeat“? (OK if it’s that organic stuff that makes everyone a little amorous, like in the commercials). And do you know that my vacuum cleaner has it’s own instructional video? Geeez!

So this finds me worrying about the balance between technological advancements and everyday living. I do love a good gadget, but often feel thwarted by the prep time you need to fully understand how to use the Bowflex™, the gears on my new mountain bike, or even a hairbrush. Yes, I understand that the original question of patience, or lack of it, plays into this. But there are other issues of technology that concern me. More in Part 2.