It used to be so simple before Face-Book and GPS

If modern technology was supposed to make life easier, why has it become more difficult? We have a vacuum cleaner now instead of the simple broom. The broom never needed the dust bag taken out nor did we trip over any cords or twisting and warping extensions. It was a pleasure sweeping up. A ritual steeped in a pre-historic age of endless time and social intercourse. True, the broom has less ‘cyclonic’ properties but the children suffered less asthma, they were blissfully loaded up with plenty of good immunizing bacterial and dust particles preventing asthma. The broom never let us down, nor was there ever a problem with the retracting cord being stuck again. It also never had a red warning light come or gave us choking fits slapping the dust bag against the yellow lidded large garbage bin on wheels.

As for the modern car; do we really believe it has ‘climate control?’ Does it prevent thunder storms or ‘willy willies around the Nullarbor?  With our old car one had the option of winding down, opening the windows, let in fresh air and some lovely rain. Now, we remain cocooned inside, a cold and impersonal ‘climate controlled’ interior of a metal box, all anxiously waiting for the bleep of the next mobile call on the blue tooth enabled ‘application’.  The kids strapped in at the back getting hyped up on an incomprehensible video called Splat-a-Lot and inexhaustible supply of lollies.

The GPS keeps on blurting in a perfect female English voice; ‘You are over the speed limit’ intermingled with ‘ Doing new re-calculations’, meaning we have been aerially booked and are also hopelessly lost. After one hour the video and lollies at the back have run out and a riot ensues. In the sixties, kids in cars used to read Pick-Wick papers or P.G Wodehouse’s Jeeves. That’s now changed in fighting over who is hogging more than 50% of the back seat and ‘”you have your knee on my half.”  “No, but you chucked a lolly wrapper at me first.”  The ‘climate’ is now decidedly getting humid and with the GPS having guided the car into a dead-end dirt road, dad is fuming, ends up sobbing with rage above the retractable steering wheel. He violently puts the car into a traction control reverse and slowly loses the will to go on.  The GPS keeps rattling on “Doing Recalculation” on and on. It’s all so hopeless. Yet, it used to be so simple with the Gregory.

Of course, if there is one invention having complicated our lives beyond redemption it would have to be the IT technology and its murderous regime of demolishing our once highly held unassailable self esteem. With the explosion of IT I have come to the bitter realization that the rest of the world gets more clicks and followers than me. I understand and know that even my best friends on Face Book are avoiding me. Since two hours, not a single vibrating growl on my Iphone. A text sent to one of my Face Book “best friend” who I have never met (or ever will meet) is not responding. The bitch is now vetting my texts as well as my voice mail. I had a missed call but it was from someone that used to be a best friend but I deleted her twenty minutes ago. That will teach her!

I sit on a park bench now waiting for a call on my interactive multi coloured apps infused IPad mobile and am totally ignoring the cooing pigeons. I used to feed them bits of my sandwich. Now, I ignore and just hatefully scowl at them. Social Media has got me in and me bullying pigeons is now the logical result. I’ll kick the dog next. I am sunk in a thick gloom.

Remember the old telephone with its reassuring ring tone? People had the good manner to answer calls and it was never used as a tool to avoid people or as a device for torture. If the phone wasn’t answered it meant people were not home. Now, people glance at the caller’s ID and decide to ignore you or worse just give you the delete button treatment. You are at their mercy. Nice going, isn’t it?

It used to be so simple.

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4 Responses to “It used to be so simple before Face-Book and GPS”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I agree with much of what you say here Gerard.

    The mobile phone especially has become something of a social curse. It makes me cringe when you see couples out a dinner together and they are sat glued to their phones, either side of the table and not saying a word to each other.

    I’m sure it wasn’t the cause of Madonna’s and Guy Ritchies marriage breakup but the fact that they both bragged that they went to bed with their Blackberrys must have acted as a catalyst.

    The one modern invention I could not live without is a washing machine.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I did not know people took blackberries to bed, pretty cool! Washing machines are one of the better gadgets. I remember it caused a sensation when my mum was one of the first to get one while still living in Holland in 1956. It had an oak barrel and a large electric motor underneath is with lots of belts and pulleys.
      They took it with them to Australia and it still lived there for many years and was finally taken to the tip when the hoover twin tub made its entry.
      I suppose in Indonesia toilet paper would be high on the list. I still have to laugh about your story and experiences with tjebokken and the use of a (left) hand held hose, no paper or towel BUT NO SOAP.


  2. nick ryan Says:

    Hi Gerard, whilst I keep the use of electrickery to a minimum,
    Para 1. The Vacuum cleaner is far more efficient than a broom, & goes in places brooms only dream about entering.
    Para 2.You can turn your climate control off AND still open the windows for the purist feel, and save money on fuel by doing so.
    Para 3. I personally have “The Queen’ talking to me on my GPS, her diction, annunciation and manner are so calming “One has arrived at one’s destination” Try loading a different voice Gerard, they are fun.
    Para 4. Oh the absolute power of the “DELETE” Button should now see you calling it the “ELITE” button.
    Para 5. Life was simpler at the farm wasn’t it, I am sure it felt that way, lots to do all the time instead of sitting around twittering at the pigeons and blogging, you would have been out logging, much more fun.
    Para 6. Remember the poor mobile reception at the farm? Some people may just never get your call due to reception problems.

    Keep up the good work Gerard, Nick


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Fair enough but the GPS in combo with mobile is now in use in most cars. I have some kind of little screen that lights up and has a phone book. Do people look up numbers and drive?
      No, never missed the farm work, nor all the driving and the spraying and electricity bills. The farm house, yes.
      Still we are happy here as well and after switching on the gas heater warm and snug within minutes.


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