Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Trouble with Technology...

16 weeks pregnant now, and I've finally stopped being sick, am eating normally again, and generally feeling much better.

OK, so the week I just spent by beautiful Coniston Water in the Lake District probably helped - it's not all that far from where I grew up; I still get all misty-eyed at the sight of a good dry stone wall...

Whilst the holiday was great, it did sort out my views about some of the technology and gadgets we have grown used to in our 21st century everyday lives. I've reached an age now where I've become considerably less tolerant of new gadgets; if I've survived this long without one, then the chances are that I will happily continue to do so.

It's not that I'm a technophobe, far from it; just that I believe the maxim 'just because you can, doesn't mean you should' is particularly relevant where technology is concerned.

When I was younger and single, I owned a car that looked a lot like this. It was crap, but we had lots of fun together.

Preparation for a long journey involved the following essential tasks:

1. Throw my favourite music tapes in.

2. Spend 10 minutes looking at the map, write down all road numbers, junctions and directions on an index card, and prop up on dashboard.

3. Put map in car, just in case...

4. Pack and go.

Fast forward 8 years, forget about the nightmare which is packing to take a toddler away for a week, and we have the following scenario.

1. Husband spends 2 hours faffing about on iTunes and creating special journey playlists on the iPod, containing a random shuffle of fairly selected tracks from our favourite CDs.

2. Husband spends a further 2 hours programming a variety of journey routes into satellite navigation system.

3. Rest of packing completed by me, much swearing ensues...

Lets start with the iPod. Normally, I wouldn't be without it, but for a long car journey I'm prepared to make an exception. Trying to listen to my beautiful new birthday present CD of Carlos Mena singing Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus for the first time, on random shuffle, interspersed with songs by Porcupine Tree is well...try to imagine ripping out the pages from your favourite literary classic, throwing them in the air along with the same number of pages from something by John Grisham, and then trying to read the collected result.

If the literary analogy doesn't do it for you, then please imagine how it would feel to be offered a dish of your very favourite meal, personally cooked for you by Gordon Ramsay, and then told that you must eat it with a toothpick, washing down each mouthful with a shot of vinegar, and you're somewhere close. Ipod, I say No.

And then there's the SatNav/GPS/bossy little box that sits on your dashboard and directs you to your destination. Those things irritate the hell out of me. Maybe it's just a man thing, but why on earth is it necessary to have the thing switched on, giving you orders and bleeping away at you for the entirety of a 300 mile journey, when it's only the last 25 miles that you don't already know!

Madam Bossy Boots SatNav does have one or two slight advantages over the old 'wife with a map' routine. She doesn't get carsick after about three minutes of looking at her map, and she doesn't shout at the driver. Originally, I thought that her presence would reduce the number of car rows we had, but now we just argue about whether or not she is going to get us home, or deposit us, cackling with spite, on top of some godforsaken fell, populated only by a herd of large and extremely self-assured sheep.

At least my eyes can tell the difference between a road and a bridleway, without recourse to a map. Of course by this point we were so thoroughly lost as to be unable to locate ourselves on the perfectly good paper map that I will be sticking with from now on.

I can't help it - I'm just an old-fashioned girl. Technology has its rightful place in our lives, but a holiday in the back of beyond isn't one of them.

In other news - we are quickly moving towards exchanging contracts on the new house (please keep everything crossed for us) and our vet says that the dog is too fat and has to lose 2 kilos. I'm actually quite embarrassed by that last one.


pat said...

hehe..that was funy; true but funny

Gypsy said...

Glad to see a post from you and as always it was as funny as hell. Also happy that you are no longer being sick and that you enjoyed the break away once you finally got there.

I won't even go in the same car with my husband if we don't know where we're going and as for Bossy Britches on the dash, I can see her hurtling out the window at around 80 miles an hour. There's only room for one bitch in our family and that's me....smiles sweetly and goes on her way....

Melissaria said...

Pat: Yes, the stuff of Sat Nav comedy sketches everywhere. It's funny because it's so very true!

Gypsy: Thanks, I'm still very tired, but getting better - just have to get lots bigger now! I might tkae up your scheme - make sure I know the way before we even start the journeys in future - not very trusting, but probably safer. The sheep I can handle, but who knows what we might find next time!

EmmaK said...

Hi, glad to see you're back on the blogosphere and no longer using your loo as a vomitarium.

I don't know an iPod from an iPhone but I would quite like one of those SatNavs as I am absolutely hopeless with directions.

Helga Hansen said...

I'm laughing... because I can so get with you on everything. I also love my MP3 player, but there are times when hearing Paul McKenna wanting to lull me to sleep while I am driving being not a good idea!!

And what is this thing about the co-dependence with SatNav?? I don't have one, I've never used one, and I never, ever want one!! Give me a map any day! I'm always chortling when I read in the papers, or watch an item on telly about some sap of a driver who allowed themselves to be directed onto a railway line/stuck under a low-lying bridge/trapped in a very narrow lane... for heaven's sake!! Just because that disembodied voice said you could go there doesn't mean you blindly follow her directions!!

Glad to know that you're feeling better too!! :D

Melissaria said...

EmmaK: Well I'm still being pretty crap with the blogging; imminent house move now taking all available energy, but we are getting there. The satnavs are very useful in an urban situation, but you should NEVER trust them if you can see a)green grass b)the sea, c) sheep or cows.

Helga: I don't know what it is about the satnav that switches off the part of the drivers brain that pays attention to where they are and which way they is very scary! I even ended up doubting myself as to whether the M6 was in fact the right way home, despite the fact that I've driven that way for over 10 years! (We had the Motorway option turned off...). Only useful if you're in a town and really don't know where you're going!

Maria said...

I knew there was a reason why I hate to travel anywhere.

moi said...

I love to travel, but hate to fly and car trips make me antsy, not to mention sick as a dog if I glance at the map for even 2.4 seconds. Ergo, all fingers and toes crossed for the fucking Finns to hurry up already and figure out teleportation.

Ms Robinson said...

Hi Melissaria, hope the sick feeling is well and truly over: evidently hubby is not well and truly over his technology fetish.

Anonymous said...

Hail! from a fellow semi-Luddite here! All this blind trust in a little black box (computers of all sorts, in all sorts of places) when there is a perfectly functional mechanical way to "do it" that has served well for years - I don't get it at all!