Last night after writing my blog, I was google-ing burlesque hair styles and make up styles on one side of the lounge room on our PC, while my husband was on the other side of the lounge room on his lap top participating in some online training thingy for work. He had his earphones in so as not to disturb me. Our son was tucked up in his bed with his little ipod shuffle and his children’s volume restricted headphones, putting himself to sleep to the dulcet tones of Brittany Spears. My i-phone was on the desk in front of me and a text came in as I was writing. I picked up the phone and the first thing that struck me was who the text was from.
My husband had texted me from the other side of the lounge room! He was making a comment on last night’s post which I had just finished. Now apart from making me giggle at the thought that he had actually texted me from such a short distance away in the same room, I then surprised myself even more by actually replying to his text…. by texting back! This little exchange got me thinking about technology and how it has changed our lives.
We are a particularly communicative household. We have to be with only three of us and the house is all open plan and isn’t very large. From the computer desk I can see the TV, lounge, kitchen, dining area and bathroom if I turn around. It’s all very closely packed. We also work on being communicative due to the issues with our son and how we have to change the way we all speak to him to give him time to process requests etc. So why did my husband text me from across the room? Well, his excuse was he had his noise cancelling earphones in and wouldn’t have heard my response if he had spoken. Strange. Could he not have removed the earphones, paused his tutorial and then spoken to me? He wouldn’t have needed to move from his chair.
I actually think the real reason a person would text like that is so as not to disturb the recipient of the text too much. I know for myself I much prefer to text people, even my close friends and family because to me a text is much less intrusive than a phone call. The phone call demands that they first answer the phone, and secondly talk to me right then and there no matter what they are doing. They could just ignore the phone if they are busy but I think most readers will agree that for some reason a phone ringing is even more demanding these days than a baby crying!
How many parents would quickly finish off the last sip of their tea before responding to their crying baby, but if the phone rang they would run and answer it immediately. I have seen people in an office stop the conversation they are having with an actual person standing next to them in order to turn and answer a phone. Surely message bank could have taken the call until they were finished talking to the person standing there?!
Think back to the ‘old days’ when all communication was either in person or via written letter. Yes, things took a lot longer to get done, but is that such a bad thing? If you received a confrontational or emotionally charged letter, you would have had time to read it, re-read it and form a well thought out response before getting yourself into a pickle. People had to wait for things and that perhaps made them more patient by necessity. Also, you didn’t have to respond immediately if you were busy doing something else. No one expected you to. No one would be waiting by their letter box just 5 minutes after they had sent their letter to you!
So phones pretty much rule our lives these days. I wouldn’t know where I am supposed to be or at what time without my phone telling me. I resisted getting an i-phone for quite some time, preferring instead to purchase my yearly pretty diary in which to write all my appointments and daily activities. For the past two years however, I have ditched the paper diary and couldn’t live without the calendar on my phone! I have at least 6 different alarms in the phone for various things, and I have recently added and alert telling me at 8pm to stretch and do sit-ups! I am more likely to obey my phone than a personal trainer!
If one of the six computers in our house fails, or internet connection goes down, the whole house is in uproar and we wander around wailing and moaning and not knowing how to function! This has happened a couple of times on a Sunday where a hard drive or a power pack will fail and you would not believe the urgency with which we embark on the mission to find someone who can sell us the replacement parts so that it can all be restored with as little down time as possible. In fact, I think we have worked harder to restore our home systems than any company who suffers from computer outages! My husband will attest to the extreme agitation I feel when something in the house which uses technology fails. I have been known to throw small tantrums when my computer freezes, or media center won’t start up properly. My 5 year old even knows how to turn on the computer, access a google page and search for things! He also knows how to operate media center to find his favourite recorded shows or movies! He can use an i-phone without any difficulty (he actually knows how to work it all better than his Nanna).
Despite all this reliance on modern technology, it’s quite funny how our favourite things to do as a family have nothing to do with it. We love sitting in the garden and watching our son climb the tree, or playing fetch with the puppy. We love our Nintendo Wii, but we are much more inclined to be out riding bikes or going to the park than inside playing games. Even on cold rainy days, we have been known to be in the garden with jackets and gum boots tramping about and getting generally dirty! (That last bit probably applies more to our son and myself rather than my husband).
Obviously technology is a help in this day and age, but sometimes things do actually take us so much longer because it doesn’t work properly! I can’t even count the number of times we’ve bought a new fandangle this or that only to get it home and find that you can’t make it work until you go and buy another special cable or connector or whatever! That is something I admit that really REALLY frustrates me! Even moving things which already worked seems to require the purchase of something new to make it work in a different location of the room! Grrr.
Right, now it is really cold in here and my hands are freezing up. I have our fancy reverse cycle air conditioner on and our expensive home ventilation system which was supposed to filter the warm air conditioned air out of the roof and back into the room, and yet… it just doesn’t seem to work. None of these things are doing the job for which I bought them. To keep me warm! Better go and get another jumper, some furry boots and some gloves on. When my technological house fails, back to ‘old school’ I go!
But first, just quickly, I’ll MSN my husband my complaints about being cold in the hopes that he will send me instant sympathy with an emoticon kiss or something 😉