when does convenience stop being convenient?
Yesterday, I saw an advertisement on the subway that made my heart drop: “Happiness is ordering food on your phone without saying a word.”
First of all, since when was the idea of a phone..and not talking… a thing? Oh, since texting was invented in 2005, thanks to Matti Makkonen. But what started as a seemingly harmless way to communicate dominoed into a smart-phone stampede (what are we up to, iphone 7?) that invites us to do anything but talk on the phone. And best yet, according to this ad, not having to verbally correspond with someone is… “happiness.” Not having to drive to the grocery store. Not having to interact with the burrito guy. Not even having to, oh goodness, get out your laptop to order online.
Let me interrupt to say that I’m not anti-technology. While I often believe I belong in a cabin in the middle of the woods with only a wood burning stove, a pen and paper, and lots of bourbon (there’d be no wifi, what else is there to do?), I realize that’s just me. And I appreciate technology. It changed the world. It’s changing the world. Much good has come of it.
But how convenient is too convenient?
Do we really need kindles? (Are they saving babies?)
Will our world fall a part if we have to look up movie times in gasp–a printed newspaper?
Has anyone ever thought about stepping outside to check the weather? (I know I know, there’s an app for that)
And do we really need to order our chinese food on an iphone in order to be happy?
When did the convenience of technology turn into the unnecessary? I’ve lived a pretty good life so far without knowing the exact time the subway is coming; I can deposit a check at the bank, not through my phone (creepy?); and I can look at a map before I leave home to figure out where I’m headed (I did drive around the country like this, and made it back alive).
Most importantly, I can find a myriad of ways to exude my own happiness, without it deriving from “ordering my food on my phone without saying a word.” I’ll strike up a conversation with the burrito guy, and it’ll make my day.