Letter T is for technology versus loyalty.
A to Z entries: My post for each letter of the alphabet will be anecdotes or musings based on an element from the previous letter’s post. Names always changed, events always real.
~ Letter S was for a Shoot on an old cellphone, and so now…technology. ~
They didn’t start out as junk. At one point they were a prized possession. But your $1500 big screen tube TV became something you couldn’t pay someone to take away. Your friends were embarrassed for you for having held on to it for so long. Everywhere you went, people had replaced their clunky old tubes for sleek flat screens that cost less than your monstrosity did ten years ago when you bought it.
In a way, it’s like technology works in inverse proportion to inflation — if you think about the accompanying quality of life technology provides versus everything non-technological that simply goes up in price but not in quality.
People sometimes ask if I wouldn’t like to live in a past century. Absolutely not. Besides the unwillingness to give up a modern woman’s independence, I’m far too fond of technology. At the same time, I’m an anti-consumerist. It’s a kooky paradox. For example, up until recently, this was my phone.
It’s missing the “I,” “E” and a bunch of other letters. The rest are curling up in various stages of inorganic rot. I held on to it for five years even though I couldn’t “like” anything on social media without it crashing.
Why did I hold on to it, when I could’ve gotten a free upgrade years ago? There is a combination of reasons.
First, “shopping” as recreation is something I simply don’t do. It has as much appeal as getting an oil change. Sometimes it’s just a really boring, unavoidable necessity.
Spend a few years broke and it cures you of any potential shopaholism.
Second, I have a hard time chucking any object as long as it does most of what I need.
I’ve even gone so far as to eulogize some in the past:
Goodbye, old Razr, you were cracked, frayed, and temperamental, and I was hoping you’d die of your own accord. The dear ’86 Corolla of a few years back would’ve attested to my dislike of discarding still-working inanimate objects that have shown loyal if (very) faulty service.
Maybe that’s why machines apparently love me and rarely fail on me. They know I’ll hold on to them until the very end.
My hyper-consideration for inanimate objects might actually be genetic. I learned this after the following conversation with M, my seven-year-old niece:
M: Am I weird because I talk to plants? And to statues?
GG: No, you’re not.
M: And the weirdest thing is, I talk to the bathroom door.
GG: You’re hilarious.
M: I say, “I’m sorry for slamming you.”
GG: And considerate.
Third, there’s a closet conspiracy theorist/anarchist in me, raising her fist with a fuck the overlords mantra. The less you refuse to play, the less they can control you, and the primary way “they” control is through consumerism via the handy media: What phone makes you cool, what gluteny fad to cut out of your diet, what to shave, what catchphrase to use… I’m the person who turns off ad tracking in every available setting, and never fills out correct age or preferences on profiles. My Facebook thinks I’m 109, so my “targeted ads” are for dentures, walkers and reverse mortgages.
In the instance of the phone, my beef was with Apple. Not getting an iPhone, though it was the only phone I wanted, was my whimper of protest. You see, when it comes to my Mac, switching to a PC would be as traumatic as waking up bald after a full head of hair. My sense of elitism regarding the Apple aesthetic is no different than any other Mac user’s. But Apple had pissed me off by doing away with still-viable usability on Macs, like ports (firewire) and internal DVD players/burners. I felt herded, and didn’t like Apple dictating how I should use my devices. I don’t want to store everything on the internet, nor do I want to stream everything off of it. Discontinuing the use of my perfectly good firewire hard drives ought to be my decision only.
Right before Apple’s fascistic New Order of Things, I made sure to grab the very last Macbook Pro that came with the port, drive, and matte display, and only because my other Mac is twelve years old and not compatible with new operating systems. It can’t upgrade to latest version of internet browsers, and doesn’t have the power to run my editing software. It’s called planned obsolescence, a shady but effective marketing strategy: Design them for future failure and product incompatibility so they have to be replaced.
Otherwise, my old faithful is alive and kicking, and every once in a while I use it for portable word processing (while guiltily thinking, wow, you’re so bulky and outdated-looking, little thing).
If you haven’t already watched The Story of Stuff, which beautifully discusses consumerism and planned obsolescence, you should.
For my new phone, I went Android again. Android respects my desire as a non-consuming consumer to control my device in a way Apple doesn’t. No one will know, no one will care, but depriving myself of an iPhone is my stance.
But technology without the trappings of commerce? It’s a dance in heaven. I was a little girl during the time the only way you could watch a slide show was with a projector and physical slides. This struck even the five-year-old me as cumbersome and slow, and for whatever reason, I would dream of holding a flat panel the size of a pocket calculator in my palm that would automatically switch images. I have no idea why I even cared as a child, but recently playing with the pictures in my (new) phone and taking it for granted, it struck me: It’s doing that magical, impossible thing I used to make up in my fantasy world.
Even my decrepit phone that has received its third homage on this blog, houses more technology than an entire electronics store from the 80’s: Video camera, still camera, typewriter, VCR, television, tape recorder, answering machine, calculator, flashlight…
With all this technology, we have the potential to be ultra-efficient and have more time. But instead, our attention has become loopy: we have collective attention deficit issues. At any given time, we have half a dozen tabs open on the browser — music, video, gossip, shopping, happy hour drinks, email, travel, news.
The instant availability of digital dictionaries and grammar rules has done nothing to expand our vocabulary, or to stop those who confuse their with there, and the possessive ’s with the plural s.
We have the ease and relative wastelessness and costlessness of digital photography, yet we’re not better photographers; we just take more pictures and create more need for storage.
The more time we have, the less time we have because the one thing we’re good at is (wastefully) filling up every new time vacuum.
On the other hand, with social media, what started out as fun and games could sometimes change the world. Remember the protestors of the rigged votes in Iran rioting and live tweeting their outrage?
The internet is a strange realm where everything exists right in front of you.
On it I have:
- Stalked my stalkers.
- Watched a friend I haven’t seen for ten years sell her apartment on a reality show.
- Come across an article that revealed to me the strapping, young baseball player who tried to pick me up was up on rape charges in another state.
- Discovered the death of a loved one.
- Discovered the death of my former manager.
- Spent Los Angeles traffic in my car instant messaging a friend in Argentina regarding a script.
- Seen a man, who was relentlessly wooing me, tagged in a picture with his unmentioned…wife.
- Run into a random blog of a woman telling her readers how to cut off their own skin tags; she had learned this from the pictured “movie-star handsome” doctor I happened to have dated.
- The age, address and recent genealogy of the woman who appropriated “Gunmetal Geisha” as a username on Pinterest and Etsy.
The world online is an array of bizarre non-sequiturs and staggering discoveries. It’s both unwanted truth serum and expert fabricator. You can learn, barter, build, heal, delight or idle.
Technology is a heaven’s dance. Now all we need is the technology to use it to our maximum potential.
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
◊ Thanks for your comments, shares and likes. Most of all, sincere thanks for reading.
◊ If you enjoy and want more GG, do sign up!
◊ You can also follow GG verbal and pictorial missives on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
You’re the best part of blogging
~ so tell me everything ~
WordPress informs me that below this paragraph, some random ad might appear unless I spring for the no-ad upgrade. If so, apologies.