Monday, August 1, 2005

Why Is It So Warm In Here And What Am I Doing In This Handbasket?

I love technology. It has really made my life full. My husband and I still have the same amount of obligations, mind you. we still have to cook, clean, work, and maintain the yard. Now we have amazing gadgets which allow us to do all of these tasks in less time. The offshoot of this is that they cost more money than had we done our daily chores through the time-tested methods of days of old. To get this money we have to work more, which means we have less free time which means we have to simplify tasks. Somehow, in the end, we are coming up short but, thanks to technology, we don't perceive that. That's the joy of technology -- it doesn't make your life easier, it just makes you unaware of how much easier your life isn't.

As our income has grown, so have our bills. Or is that: as our bills grow, so has our income? Now we not only need a cell phones but land line phone service, and high-speed internet (after all, we do have limited time so since we're being paid for our time, we have to pay more to conserve time). It's a vicious circle.

I have to be available to family and friends 24/7. This is especially important if a friend's car won't start in a parking lot on the other end of town while I'm in the bathroom at Target. Of course I, and the rest of the bathroom patrons, should know about this right away so I can call my husband to have him tell me "she must have flooded it" only to have her call me back as I wash my hands to tell me that it started after she waited a few minutes. Immediate access to me is important because, should I be unavailable, my friend would be required to contact less good friends who are either at home or provide a cell-phone emergency service such as I wouldn't provide in this scenario.

In our house, the technology question has become polarized around the issue of television use. Since our time is so darn valuable, we can't simply subscribe to a cable service or, for that matter, plop an antennae on the roof so we can access all of network TV and the joys it has to offer. No, since we don't subscribe to the concept of reality TV as high entertainment, we must subscribe to something. Since we work so hard we can't simply subscribe to nothing -- we deserve more, right? (Homework: see how many advertisements in various media tell you that you deserve their products.) And since that something must be diverse and interesting, it should come in the form of a home satellite.

Upon evaluating satellite TV's offerings based upon our woefully lacking standards we decided it was better. Therefore, the fee for it was slightly higher. Since we're not always ready to plunk down on the sofa and watch whatever might be on at the time, we have to record our choice of programs to watch when our ever dwindling supply of spare time gives us a few moments. Since recording TV allows us to watch shows at our leisure, we are also able to zoom past commercials and save ourselves even more time. However, the process of recording programs is fraught with difficulty, including finding a tape and programing the VCR AGAIN, so we must subscribe to TiVO. This digital recording system costs slightly more than regular satellite TV, which costs slightly more than cable, which costs slightly more than the roof antennae, which is more expensive than simply watching TV using the electricity which would have cost less had we simply chucked the whole TV idea and invested the $295 it would cost in bonds. This is all because time is valuable.

One of these days I'm going to wander off into the woods and live on bark and berries. Before I do that, maybe I should find a bark and berry harvester on ebay.

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