Or: How to be part of the future, when living in the technological past:
So, welcome to the 20th century. Dont I mean, the 21st century? Nooo… I currently live outside of the city limits. This poses some problems, most of which revolve around ‘patience’.
Patience to wait for tradespeople
Patience to wait for news
Patience to wait for visitors
Patience to wait for technology.
Its a virtue. I’m told.
When and how did I become an instant gratification monster? As a Milenial I shouldnt have this driving need; I should be happy with Betacord, Cassette tapes, ‘life before the interwebs‘, landline phones, travelling to the corner store for some bread and milk, and stopping for a chat with the woman in the pet store, who asks after my dogs (which she names in order of age), and enjoying a coffee, sitting on the porch watching my horses feed.
So, why the guilt? Why do I feel somehow ‘less’ without something smart or ‘i” in the palm of my hand or lap? Why do I nurse technology to see just how far from the house I can walk before the wifi starts to fade – why am I considering getting a more powerful wifi modem? Do I really intend to watch TED Lectures from the stables, and hook up wireless, wifi, infra-red cameras (which I will barely check) on the boundary fences and select paddocks? I live in the country – why am I so suspicious of my neighbours with the attack-dogs (one with only three legs)?
I wonder, in today’s age, why it takes:
*more than 15 hours of telephone complaints (resolved by 1 online complaint to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman)
*10 hours of telephone technical support
*repeatedly refusing offers of mobile connectivity (there IS no mobile reception here, why do you keep offering it to me when you KNOW your own provider doesn’t provide reception here?!?)
to feed the obsession that I feel I *should* have to get reconnected, when I have a sublime coffee in my hand, and an Australian Shepherd who keeps bringing me a ball to throw?
Shouldn’t I remember life back in the dark ages (or am I thinking of the FUTURE Digital Dark Age?) when there was no personal or professional digital identify – or at least, there will be no discernible distinction between a personal and digital identity, in a Technology Singularity, post-human world? Does this still make me human, or am I transitioning to a higher state?
Instead, I seek to get my family ‘hooked’ – I am so concerned with perpetuating the ‘digital virus‘ at home and at work: I ‘drop round’ to make sure my mother’s wifi works at optimal speed, ensuring the laptop and iDevice that I got her has constant connection; that everything is ‘virus free’ (who would want to plant a data virus on my mother’s ‘Smurfs’ app usage?); I make sure that my FaceTime and Skype connections to my father are working; I video chat with my niece on her birthday; I facebook my cousin while she is in the waiting room, while her son is in surgery in a hospital.
I wonder if I should be feeling some sort of guilt about secondary and tertiary bullying to ensure that my 90-year old grandparents become hooked; and that we can all participate in digital e-Health (lightyears before the government) so that my grandfather can videochat with any of his 8 children, 47 grandchildren and exponentially increasing great-grandchildren and 5th generation offspring with his third generation iDevice tablet and 5th generation smart phone, if he or my grandmother become unwell? It seems that we trust our private family technology network before we trust the phone to call an ambulance!
And yet, we still insist on printing documents at work.
In thinking about this, making the choice to quit my last job when my boss didn’t trust the technology that he had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in ensuring existed to facilitate virtual connectivity and productivity, because he wanted me to remain geographically located with him, instead of with my stakeholders, doesn’t seem like such a bad decision. Except when I am interrupted checking my email, on the way to getting milk and bread by the pet store owner, asking after my dogs.
However, this seems to be a common bullying tactic by dinosaurs to remain surrounded by their food, in their lair – the resistance to allow employees to actually use the technology that they spend 15 hours per day designing, planning, installing, training and patting each other on the back for achieving would seem significant. Have *I* failed in implementing the change management plan which gives my former boss the comfort to evolve, or did we reach the limit of his genetic, professional predisposition to transition into the universe he chose to create (over spending time with his family)? Was I really seeking to ‘un-plug’ myself, create a digital sabotage event and identity schism between my actual and digital personalities; to create a scenario where I would not be able to reconcile with my digital self in a healthy multiple-personality disenfranchise, breaking the cycle of personal violence between my actual and digital self; seeking some solitude, a good coffee and a pat for the dog?
What would you miss? Asking my grandmother of 92 years, of all today’s ‘mod-cons‘ (many of which I could not possibly do without), which does she think she could not bear to part with? Every time, she says, without hesitation and a wry smile: ‘Running water’.