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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Wild obsessions over the next thing

  • I find smartphones a blessing and a curse. Yes, any piece of information is now at the tips of ones fingers. Want to know where Ukraine is? Pull up a map. How about a quick recipe that incorporates salmon and asparagus? There's an app for that.
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  • I find smartphones a blessing and a curse. Yes, any piece of information is now at the tips of ones fingers. Want to know where Ukraine is? Pull up a map. How about a quick recipe that incorporates salmon and asparagus? There’s an app for that.
    But on the down side, I can no longer go out to a restaurant and find a table clear of a cell phone. When we don’t want to talk to a stranger, whip out the phone to peruse Facebook — or go so far as to have a fake conversation.
    I’ve been guilty of that one.
    Smartphones are a luxury that has made living a little easier in the 21st century, but has, without a doubt, changed the face of society.
    My dad is the worst smartphone owner I know, but not in the way you might think.
    Whereas some people’s phones are glued to their ears or hands, my dad rarely uses his. When I try to call him, it usually goes straight to voicemail — a surefire sign that the phone isn’t even charged. He normally doesn’t answer, doesn’t remember to carry his phone and doesn’t really seem to care about the device. My mom suggested he might as well throw it away.
    My dad is a unique sort. For example, last weekend he went to a beekeeping class — and has a lone sting to prove it. His backyard is not like other suburban backyards. It’s mostly vegetable gardens ranged by chickens. Yes, chickens in the suburbs.
    Their names: Monica, Rachel, Phoebe — noticing a trend, perhaps? — Lucy and Ginger.
    There’s a worm farm in the basement.
    Rain barrels collect runoff to wet the gardens.
    My dad wants to make his own cheese.
    He has made his own beer.
    Basically, my parents have gone full “Little House on the Prairie” in the suburbs. I joke that they’ll trade in their vehicles for a horse and buggy and buy a goat for milk. I don’t know where they would find room for a goat in between all the herb stands on the deck.
    Modern advancements seem to be lost on my dad. He could have been born 100 years ago and not missed any of the comforts most people whine about today.
    I get it.
    People are tied to their things, gadgets that break, freeze and shut down. Americans relish their unreliable, dispensable products that ruin the environment of far-away places in China when thrown away.
    Page 2 of 2 - There’s not enough room for the heaps of trash created people bored with broken things.
    My dad seems much more content to downsize and create his own things — no smartphone required.
    The American obsession with the newest material thing on the market creates a cycle of depravity. When one thing is out, ten new things take its place. We aren’t happy unless we have our stuff.
    Stuff that will ultimately age, become obsolete and disappoint.
    While I couldn’t do without my smartphone, Internet, laptop apps, etc., I see the value in detaching worth from things.
    It seems much more satisfying to carry on a proper conversation, to not whine when technology fails, to find worth in accomplishments carried out by the individual.
    For my parents, the carousel of the newest, shiniest gizmo doesn’t hold water, literally, next to the rain barrel in the backyard feeding the kale garden that will ultimately make a meal.
    They’re OK with that.
    If only some people could find a little more happiness in fewer things.
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