Saturday, October 20, 2012

A world without microwaves

I guess I haven't blogged for a while. I've been too busy to spend a very big chunk of time on the computer lately. Besides, sometimes when I get home from work and I had a day where I was staring at a computer screen all day I don't really feel like more technology.

Not that I want less technology. I remembered that when our Internet and email went out at work on deadline a couple of weeks ago. That was fun. We had to go around town and collect things like the police report, obits, etc. that we would normally be pulling off of email and then retype them. Meanwhile someone was going home and downloading things like political cartoons and syndicated columns onto a flash drive.

I don't know how journalists did it before email and Facebook and everybody and their dog having a website. I can tell you I would have spent waaay more time on the phone (I hate talking on the phone) because I would have had to call back people I had interviewed to check with them on things like "What was your official title again?" or "What is your wife's name?" Now I can just Google them or look them up on Facebook, which is so much better, especially if they aren't answering the phone and the story is due in half an hour. Stalking beats talking.

Come to think of it, I don't know how people did a lot of things today's technology. What would happen if you were meeting up with someone who was saving you a seat in a stadium or you split up at the mall and needed to meet back up? I'm pretty sure some of the old people that you see walking around by themselves are still trying to meet up with their high school friends they couldn't find because they couldn't text them to ask where they were sitting. The ones who are sitting down are probably still waiting for someone that they were supposed to meet up with who couldn't call their cell phone to tell them they weren't coming after all.

Or what about when people couldn't TiVo shows or look them up on Hulu? You would have to be home at the same time every week or you would miss episodes and you wouldn't be able to look up a recap online. It would be so confusing. Lost would have been cancelled after the first season.

I'm also grateful for digital cameras. It's nice to be able to take ten pictures of the same thing without worrying about wasting film, and it's great that you can see right then and there if the photo turned out. Back in the days of film, you had wait until you finished up the role of film and got it developed before knowing whether or not your 16th birthday will be forever represented by a photo of you with your eyes closed.

I don't know what people did without microwaves, either. Sure, you could use one of those popper machines to make popcorn and you could make food with actual ingredients instead of a TV dinner with unidentifiable blobs of food that look nothing like the picture on the box. But what about reheating leftovers? If you wanted to zap some leftover waffles for a snack or melt some cheese over a leftover roll you would have to wait fifteen minutes for the oven to preheat, put it in a metal pan and wait for it to cook. And then it would be overdone instead of merely warm.

I also wonder how people dealt with the seemingly primal human urge to figuratively shout "Look at me! I exist!" without blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. How would you all know what I think about microwave dinners if I couldn't blog? How could I know people "like" the fact that I got paint in my hair? If someone has an opinion and they don't post it on Twitter, does the opinion matter?

So yeah, I definitely wouldn't want to live before all this wonderful technology. Although there would be perks to going without it until after the election season. I can imagine how past generations did without political chain emails...