I Remember a Time …

Ben Brain/Digital Camera Magazine

“When I was younger …”

“I can remember a time  ..”

“When I was a kid …”

I’m too young to be starting out a sentence with those phrases. Yet here I am, sharing a tale with you, that starts:

I can remember a time … when you’d go to the eye doctor and sit in front of this huge machine that held a thousand little round lenses, and the doctor would lower these huge, thick sections in front of each eye, and go through a hundred different lenses to test your eyesight.

I say that today because I just got home from an all remote eye test. Well, except for the receptionist/assistant. Filled out a questionnaire on a tablet, went into one room where three different machines took three different images, (they still had the puff-of-air-in-the-eye test), then went into a second room where a nurse/doctor/assistant appeared on a TV monitor and remotely controlled the rest of the eye exam on a fourth piece of equipment. That nurse/doctor/assistant then sent the results electronically to the eye doctor who looked over your results and gave you your prescription.

Fast, clean — no contact with the living.

Welcome to the 21st century.

I have no problem with this new technology, especially with Covin hanging around every corner. But gone are the heavy, clunky machines of yesterday. The “click click” as the eye doctor turned the lens around. “A? (click) or B? (lots of whirling and clicking) A? (click click) or B?”

Of course, there are now virtual doctor visits, virtual job interviews, and virtual grocery shopping. I mean, who doesn’t know what a 5 oz. (142g) can of tuna looks like?

Virtual is all well and good. We need to keep up with it, understand it, use it.

But we also have to physically see other people now and then, too. We need physical hugs and in-person smiles to let us know we’re not alone. We need to pull a leaf off the tree and look at its structure, or play with the levels of petals on a zinnia or a dahlia so we can marvel at the physical world around us.

We need fresh air and friendship and the sunshine on our face. Be sure you are finding it all.

The “I remember a time…” part — I haven’t figured out how to deal with that yet.

 

Could You Live in the NOW?

Are you done wishing everyone a Happy New Year yet? Are your Christmas decorations still up? Or are you finished with that part of the season and planning for Spring that is 59 days away?

Seems us humans have a hard time living in the “now”. Even though that’s the phrase of the millennium, it’s really hard to live right now. And now. And now. And now. Which is now the past. 

So here is my Philosophy 101 question for the New Year. 

If you were totally isolated from others, would time flow differently for you?

I know our ancestors had to deal with no watches, no cell phones, no TVs to check morning, noon, and night. But I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about us modernists.

Say you lived 30 miles, 50 miles from town (you can drive to Sams Club once a month if you want for supplies, but no other luxuries.) No computers, no radios. No movies. All that isolation stuff. You live comfortably, but without technology. (No guilt trips about not being with your grandkids and all — that’s a different game.)

My QUESTION is… how long could us modernites live in the “now”? No hanging out with friends, no phone. You can write letters but that’s about all.

All you would hear would be the songs of the birds and the wind blowing through the trees morning, noon, and night. Thunderstorms and windstorms and coyotes in the distance moving across the plains. The longer you lived with nature, the more in-tune you would be with the sounds around you. 

But that’s all you’d hear.

Knowing your lifestyle of today, how long would you be able to stay away from civilization? How long would the songs of the birds or the chatter of squirrels be entertainment? How long would you be able to live in the NOW?  A month? A year? 10 years? Would the NOW turn into one long blur?

I love these philosophical questions that have no exceptions. There are no “but what if I talk to the store clerk once a month? Is that isolation?” Or “what if the neighbor stops by?” Isolation is isolation.

For me, I think if I were forced to let go of technology, I could fairly adjust. Notice I italicized forced and fairly. Could I live with the sounds of nature 24/7? I live a lot with them these days, but let’s be truthful — only when I sit outside or go for a walk. I always have music or the TV going on for sound when I’m alone. But I have the option to connect with friends and the nonsense of the outside world.

Would my my adult-onset A.D.D. handle the eternal nature-only sounds of dawn, midday, and dusk? Would my senses become sharper the longer I stayed away from technology?

For me, I guess I’d eventually get used to silence day in and day out. I’d probably sing a lot more in the beginning, but I wonder if even that would fade away the more I got used to the silence. 

I’d definitely need to have a cat or two to hold conversations with, though…(if you knew how yakky my cat was you’d know what I mean…)

How about you?

 

 

Which Button Do I Push?

It’s Friday night. My mates and I have driven 4 hours north to our cabin near the lake. It’s a long drive, but every time I stand on the deck/porch I tell myself it’s worth it.

We have no cable, no Internet (except for a hot spot, which I am using as we speak), no TV. Radio, okay. CDs and Tapes if we are in the mood. Being four hours away from the small town/city I live in makes all the difference in the world.

So here I am Friday night, wanting to watch a DVD, and I’m confronted with four controllers, one TV, one VCR, one gaming device, and one DVD player.

Good luck trying to figure out how to watch a movie.

One machine shows DVD, Tape, TV, SAT, and several other choices. Pick a device, pick a controller, and hopefully you’ll find your way to a movie.

Not me.

It’s not that technology has passed me by — I just can’t figure out which dang controller goes with which dang machine. Or which order I’m supposed to push the buttons. I don’t consider myself technically challenged until I get into the comfort of my own home. One wrong button and I’ve changed cable channels, input mechanisms, and devices.

I don’t get it. I’ve learned new programs at work like Wrike and Google Analytics and Agora Pulse, yet the mere appearance of more than one TV controller sends me into Flipper Hell.

Why does everything need to be so complicated?

My hubby and I like to play video games, especially Gauntlet on PS2. But by the time I change input and turn this machine on and that machine off, I’ve given up and resolved myself to watching  Deadliest Catch reruns.

This is the part of getting older I hate. Not remembering which machines to turn on, which buttons to push, how to get back from pushing the wrong button.

I wonder if that’s a metaphor for my life.

I don’t have time to think about the cosmic applications and interpretations of such. All I want to do at the moment is watch The Mummy on DVD.

Buttons be damned.