Lost in The Matrix: Vol. I
Why is everything so friggin’ complicated? It seems like every time I turn around I have to learn some totally intense new technology with its own language just to be able to perform simple operations. The dashboard of my car is like the bridge on the Starship Enterprise. Although a monkey could probably snap good photos with my camera right out of the box, really learning how to use that thing requires a combined Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, Applied Mathematics and Astro-Geophysics & I’m pretty sure the right combination of keys on my new microwave activates a Star Gate Portal for time travel.
Just the terms and nomenclature alone are enough to make my eyeballs roll backwards in my skull. Brings back memories of Dad trying to figure out his camera every Christmas. “Goddamn it Janet! Where’s the instruction booklet for this thing? And I can’t read this without my glasses, but I can’t find my glasses without my glasses….” And if everything isn’t constantly updated with new firmware, and a new operating system which can’t be downloaded with your current system but must first confirmed by clicking on this link which leads you to a whole new level of online clubs, social networks and akashic records verification systems to which you must belong just to be able to add your new can opener to your authorized list of wireless clients…and what the fuck was my password and pin for that????
I think it’s just that everything is constantly changing which leaves us in a state of continuous adaptation, which isn’t bad , it’s just evolution, which is a good thing. However, there are times when I just want to go from Point A to Point B without having to register online, fill out an exit survey, negotiate an extended warranty purchase, consult a glossary of nomenclature and symbols, use a proprietary allen wrench and fijiwinkle & jump through hoops navigating through 72 layers of electronic menus. And please don’t get me started about copy machines or talking to robots on the telephone.
This call may be monitored for quality control and data mining purposes, unless, of course, you really need help. Please have your original Social Security card, birth certificate, 3rd grade report card, 2 expired passports & a notarized note from your Mom ready as proof of your identification, but do not proceed before reading and agreeing to our 82 pages of terms and conditions before authorizing……. To return to the Main Menu Press 1, To hear these options again Press 2, To initiate Self-Destruct Sequence Press 3, To prove to yourself that you’re not actually in The Matrix or a character in a Samuel Beckett play Press 4, Para Espanol just yell: “Spanish!”
Is there an App for that?
May 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm
I love this and it is so true. Of course, before you can use whatever device you have purchased, you have to try to take it out of its package which is no minor feat!
May 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm
Haha! Isn’t THAT the truth. You almost need the nuclear launch codes and run the risk of slicing the arteries on your wrist with that wicked, molded plastic.
May 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm
Leave the house and head down to a record store. Look through the selection. Ah…there it is! A beautifully decorated album cover. Purchase it with cash. Small talk with the clerk. Head back home. Hold it in your hands. Look at the design. Lyrics and art adorn the surface. It opens up? Wow. Like a book. It takes up space. All this sensory interaction and your ears haven’t even been engaged yet. It takes time to remove from the sleeve, to place on the turntable. Clean the needle – then carefully place the needle and hear that “bump” through the speakers – then some crackle and snaps – sit back and wait for the notes to come alive as it spins round. Worth the wait. Worth the time.
Remember those days?
Today you buy a digitally remastered song with digital money. It is instant, clean, sharp, precise audio. No liner notes. A small thumbnail photo one can barely make out. Onto the song! Electrons waiting to mathematically align and be amplified through a small digital device. You never even had to move from the seat in front of your computer. Quick ease of access, yes. But is something lost?
Adaptation once took time, but now eludes us and actually can become a stressor as it is constantly a shorter and shorter duration between the debut new technologies and product life cycles. Why? A push for more options and faster than before! More buttons, more gigahertz, more pixels, more megabytes, more channels, more, more, more. Is life actually made easier, with more?
How to fix these ills? Live a little “analog” from time to time. Not all the time. Some of the time. Try shooting film again. Use a manual typewriter once in awhile. Browse an actual record store with vinyl albums. Take an excursion pulled by a vintage steam locomotive. Pause when you see a street musician and listen. Don’t just walk by. Do something seemingly absurd like buy an inkwell and quill pen and write a letter with it. Don’t even send it if you don’t want to. Just write it for the experience. Restore something old. Place an antique “something” in your workspace. Whatever you wish. Skip the drive-through and cook something you’ve never cooked before at home. Play a board game…it goes on and on!
I think it is time for me to pull out that tattered and well-read copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for yet another read.
Now, time for a bowl of instant oatmeal. Wait a minute…
May 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm
Wow! What a response! You know – just the other day I was using a font called “American Typewriter” and it looked so cool I found myself wanting an old manual typewriter just for that look alone. I’ve been making some CD mixes for my band ~ “The 3 Chords and a Cloud of Dust Jug Band (and Preservation Society) and I felt absolutely compelled to make some attempt at “album cover art” for them. Another bit of lost artistry that made the album a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary experience. It had visual art, good writing and if it was a double album you could roll joints on ’em! I think you hit the nail right on the head of my frustration with this observation: “Adaptation once took time, but now eludes us and actually can become a stressor as it is constantly a shorter and shorter duration between the debut new technologies and product life cycles.” That speaks directly to the heart of the matter for me. Thank you so much for reading and responding with such thought provoking and well written commentary!
May 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm
You’ve captured my world perfectly. Thanks!
May 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm
Thanks for reading!
July 8, 2012 at 10:37 am
I pressed “4” but elevator music came on
July 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Elevator music is like an instant lobotomy! 🙂