Tag Archives: modern life

I Admit It: I’m Addicted to My Devices

DH and I had a genius plan that hasn’t QUITE worked out as imagined: (Has this ever happened to you?, she asks…)  Rent a house in the English countryside for a month and use it as a home base from which to explore, so as not to eat out every meal and be able to live more like locals.

The fly in the ointment is that our cozy little cottage has no WiFi, no phone signal, and a currently non-working television.  In an emergency we could use a provided key to unlock a landline in one of the outbuildings…. Somehow, this does not inspire confidence.

As a result, we can check e-mail, bank accounts, etc. only sporadically. I like to imagine I can do without these updates, as I survived many decades before we all had cell phones and iPads, but the pathetic truth is that I’ve become used to immediate access when I need a recipe, map, random facts, or an Amazon Prime download. And I like it that way.

My parents and grandparents used to fret about the “good old days” but when I look back, I see only major improvements since my youth. For instance:

1) Flat irons. Back in the sixties, if you wanted straight hair a la Francoise Hardy or Jean Shrimpton, you literally ironed it. With an actual iron and ironing board! The alternative was to wrap your hair around a giant beer or coffee can until it dried.

2) Microwaves. What a brilliant way to reheat coffee, let alone cook a potato. I truly don’t care if radioactive waves are shortening my life as long as I can have a hot cup on demand.

3) Google. I don’t begrudge one cent of the money those gazillionaires have made. Not having to go to the library or plow through 400 volumes of the encyclopedia when I want to know something is priceless.

4) 500+ TV channels. I may only watch three of them but I have OPTIONS, dammit!

5) GPS. Maps are great, but having a cheery voice tell you when to turn left or “recalculate” is infinitely better than hearing the same information from an exasperated spouse.

What mod cons do YOU depend on?

Happy weekend, all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Curmudgeon Chronicles

Although I believe in putting less negativity into the world, sometimes you just need to bitch a little. So today I’m going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy (a wonderful expression that first appeared in print around 1871) and share some observations that trouble me.

1) The dumbing-down of language. I should first admit that years of writing advertising copy have destroyed my prior knowledge of grammar and punctuation. (I now rationalize any errors as part of my “style”.) Some pet peeves:

  • The inability to differentiate “its” (possessive) from “it’s” (contraction of “it is”) and “lose” from “loose”
  • “I’m bored of…” vs.“bored with” – and why are you bored? You’re 22!!
  • “A couple” days/fuddy-duddies/etc. Where’s the “of”?
  • “Thanks for having me” vs. “inviting me”, unless it was indeed a sexual encounter
  • The overuse of “awesome”, which should be reserved for references to Yosemite, the pyramids, or God—not a latte with an extra shot

Check out the following job requirements I received from a recruiter:

“…High intellectual curiosity and hunger to learn in ambiguous environment.” Does this mean I’d be working in a place that looks like a dry cleaner but is actually a front for organized crime?

“Excellent written and vertical communication.” Are they asking the candidate to write while standing on a ladder? Having sex in a shower?

Also, when did “work stream” become a thing? Let’s reserve that for trout fishermen and gold miners.

2) The sorry state of education. In a recent survey, students at a Texas university did not know the name of our current Vice President, who won the Civil War, or when the American Revolution was fought (one student suggested 1677). However, all of these students knew the names of Brad Pitt’s current and former wives and what show Snooki was on. (Oops, I’ve ended with a preposition. It’s not easy being the Word Police!)

3) Breathless weather reportage. Haven’t we always had floods, snow, etc.? Today’s descriptions remind me of olives: “huge”, “gigantic”, “colossal”….

4) Hold times so long I could bake a cake from scratch while I wait for my utility, bank or Internet “provider” to pick up. Adding insult to injury, when I finally reach a human, he or she usually can’t “provide” a solution so I have to call back.

5) AT&T. You sign up for a monthly plan. Yet somehow every bill remains different, despite the fact that we never order a single movie or call exotic countries. WTF?!

Whew; venting is hard work! Please share your own pet peeves below and once you’ve gotten them off your chest, let’s all enjoy another glorious day!