Saturday mornings and afternoons I work the post office at good ol’ Buford Road. Everything is typically fine, do you want to send your package priority or standard, what size flat rate box do you want, no sir you can’t mail a letter to England with forty-nine cent postage, until the computer freezes up. And I don’t know what to do. I’m not the regular post office lady, I’m so confused. Help I need an adult.  I turn to the nice lady customer and tell her the truth: “I hate technology.”

I feel like there’s this expectancy for millennials like myself to all be super apt at computers and technology. Like since we all played Barbie computer games in kindergarten, we should be able to fix anything with a computer. Why should I take my iPhone to the Apple store when I could just use my children? Yeah, there are people who can build their own computers, hey James did it, and that’s cool and all, but I’d much rather be spending my time at my mom’s ancient sewing machine pretending I’m living a la Little House on the Prairie. 

Schools try to incorporate technology so much I feel like it’s an overkill. At Saint Gertrude, it seemed like there was always a project going on that was trying to get us to use the school’s iPads and video cameras. Eve though I was probably supposed to be gaining some kind of knowledge out of the project, I always felt like there was a better way to get us to learn. Do I really need to make a movie of me and my friends poorly speaking Spanish? Don’t we do enough of that in class? Now that I’m in college, technology is even more readily available. Laptops, phone chargers, and iPads are all ready to rent at the library and can be taken anywhere on campus. My non-reading homework is mostly online, which ends up being a disadvantage when you want to bring something to do when the kids you babysit have gone to bed, or when it’s slow at work. Plus, after I’m done with all the online Italian worksheets, UNIV essays, and African history online documents, my eyes are sick and tired of the computer screen, and the last thing I want to do is check out the Astronomy lecture because the entire class is online. Did anyone think about the health risks when they invented computers? Are they going to be working on that soon so we all don’t end up with poor eyesight? C’mon, I can’t be the only one frightened by how quickly technology is evolving.

Home phones and desktops are turning into things of the past, iPads and Chromebooks will probably overturn laptops in a few years, or maybe those weird looking phone-tablet things. Does anyone else spend their commutes worried about what’s going to happen next? Will we all get rid of cell phones and use Google glasses instead? Instead of credit cards, will we all have microchips implanted in our skin, or barcodes tattooed on our skin?  (I can see it now: “Jeez mom, why don’t you get the Google contacts? Why do you still have to use a smart phone, what is this, 2014?” “Shut up, daughter, or I won’t feed you tonight”.) Why isn’t science spending time and money trying to figure out something cool, like how we can teleport,  instead of what the next telephone is going to be? Are we really that greedy that we can’t just sit there and say, you know what, I think we’re all good. Let’s celebrate and work on space travel. 

Brad and Alexis tell me about Bendersky, the great VCU history professor who specializes in WWI, WWII, Nazi Germany, all that jazz. He doesn’t use Blackboard, VCU’s gatornet with student grades, doesn’t use power points, and his class is pretty much his lecture. Bendersky is a little too reactive than what I imagine my future teaching self, but don’t expect me to do all kinds of weird things with QR codes or whatever those bar codes on flyers are called.

Here’s the part of the essay where I’m a thirty year old cranky white woman and I complain about how social media and smartphones make us less social: Whenever hanging out with people turns to all of us looking at our phones, I immediately try to restart the conversation because we’re here to value each other’s time and company, not the funny things on VCU Overheard. Make a real connection with your real friends, and don’t message that person from India. 

Should I be cringing in the irony that I’m writing a blog on my laptop about how much I hate technology, complain about how it makes us anti-social but I’ll get excited when I see the viewer stats?  Our relationship with technology today is interesting, if we did without it then the whole world will pretty much fall apart, even though people persisted for thousands of years before it. Really guys, if African groups can still function today without phones, laptops, the freaking internet, well, I’m pretty sure we can too. I mean, I do like having my phone to text Alison when class gets boring, and my Macbook is great for downloading music and searching up menus to restaurants I’ll never go to, but sometimes I just wish we could all go back to…well anywhere in history before the 1980’s when technology went insane in the membrane. You know, happy times when people picked up a real, physical, newspaper in the morning, and read the headlines, not just scrolling around online? I know that’s not going to happen, time travel is just every history major’s number one wish, so I suppose I’ll just try to adapt as best as I can. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to run over to the engineering school to find a cute computer science major who can help me out with this kinda stuff

One thought on “Technophobia

  1. Ah, I have much sympathy for your point about sore eyes from overuse of the computer. It has got to the point where everything comes from a screen. You do all your homework, all your socialising, all your movie watching from a screen. Perhaps the extent of people’s eyesight will gradually lessen until we will have a range of 18 inches. At least the rainforests will be saved by the absence of books and newspapers. Let us rejoice.

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