“I’m an online freelance writer,” I responded when my Uber driver asked me what I do for a living. He glared at me with pure contempt the moment I uttered the word “online.”
“I remember when I was a kid, we didn’t have ‘Google,'” my Uber driver began while simulating quotations and disdainfully spewing out the tech giant’s name. Here we go with the “back in my day” stories, I thought dispiritedly.
“You know what we had?” he asked. I stared at him blankly knowing he’d continue his tirade without waiting for my reply. “We had the good ol’ encyclopedia! We’d get off our caboose, walk to the library, use the Dewey Decimal System, which you probably don’t even know about.”
“Actually, I d– ” I began, but he squelched my interruption with his booming voice and passionate diatribe. “And we’d crack open a book and find the information for our own damn selves,” he said.
I chuckled at the irony as the anti-tech zealot peered into his technologically advanced, built-in navigation system in the Uber app to ensure he was headed in the right direction.
At the time, I couldn’t help but think that my Uber driver was a dead ringer, even personality-wise, for that grumpy old man on Modern Family. “What’s his name again?” I pondered as my memory failed me.
A guileful smirk came across my face as I pressed the “Home” button on my iPhone, navigated to Chrome, and rebelliously and spitefully plugged in the words “Modern Family cast” into Google as my tech-hating Uber driver continued his tirade.
“Ah, right,” I thought gleefully as Google jogged my memory in just seconds. “His name is Jay Pritchett; he’s played by Ed O’Neil.”
The Jay Pritchett look-a-like began yammering about Millennials’ preoccupation with their phones, and how “lazy” and “detached” we’ve become.
If he hates technology so much, I thought, I take it he’d be happier conducting a horse and buggy from Manhattan to Long Island? Perhaps he’d prefer to pick up passengers with a mule? Maybe we could swap his high-tech GPS system with a huge cumbersome paper map and a compass?
Hell yes technology has made us more lazy. I wholeheartedly agree with the Jay Pritchett doppelganger on that point, but where we differ is that he thinks high-tech advancement is the bane of our existence. I, on the other hand, believe technology is, at its very core, sweet, beautiful progress that affords us the luxury of being lazy.
Yeah, I said it. Laziness is a luxury.
For an example, I’m not wealthy enough to use Uber every single day, but if I could, it’d significantly cut down on my obstructive two-hour commute via public transportation and earn me more free time to laze and enjoy my days.
Though I’m far from rich, I still enjoy the “lazy” perks of technological advancement. I no longer have to inconvenience myself by getting dressed, hoping in a car, waiting in line, stomaching dreadful human interaction, and finally getting my food order. I can kick my feet up, and with just a few taps on Postmates, UberEats, or Grubhub – depending on which app has the best promo code of the day, of course – I can have my dinner delivered right to my door in under an hour.
If I want to make a purchase, I don’t have to set foot inside a brick-and-mortar store. With just a few clicks – well, literally just one click if you have “Amazon 1-Click Ordering” – I could have anything I could ever desire sent to my front porch.
Please place the regressionist anti-tech whiners (my Uber driver included) in a time machine – zap ’em back to the “good ol’ days” – when they had to hunt for mammoths with spears for dinner and barter with cattle in a cashless economy. And when you do, allow the rest of the sensible population to experience a bit of schadenfreude watching ’em – er – “thrive” in their bare bones, technology-inadequate “utopia” by broadcasting the tomfoolery on a premium, high-definition streaming service like Apple TV+.
Come on! Technology is supposed to drastically reduce our back-breaking labor – that’s the point! That’s why we love smart devices. Smart speakers, à la the Alexa-enabled Amazon Echo Plus, allow us to have a hands-free experience and dictate commands that are fulfilled in seconds.
“Alexa, turn off the lights!” And the lights switch off without having to move a muscle. How awesome is that?
Oh, and don’t even get me started on those who say that technology’s “destroyed” human interaction. People have hated people since the dawn of time – iPhones and Androids aren’t to blame.
Look at these vintage photos of the so-called “golden eras” of human interaction:
Oh yeah, tons of interacting going on in those photos for sure.
We’ve always yearned to escape the painful awkwardness of face-to-face small talk – technology simply fulfills our inner misanthropic desires.
We’ve always been disengaged, but technology affords us the privilege to disengage better – the crossword-puzzle lovers now can enjoy wordplay on an app and the sports-section readers can watch a game or two on their way to work.
Technology has granted adults the ability to grab on tightly to their security blankets – veiled as glitzy smartphones and other high-end tech devices to tame our social anxiety – without public judgement.
Is there really something wrong with that? I personally don’t think so.
So please, for the love of all things holy – you included my Jay Pritchett look-a-like Uber driver – allow us to laze and disengage with our tech in peace!