Compelled by Technology

Rats in a technological maze. Jumping to the ring, buzz and tone of the newest toy. What has become of free will, of personal responsibility, of turning off the damn machines?

Three examples of technology over humanity from this past week:

Exemplar #1: I am visiting with relatives. A teenage cousin or second cousin or grand cousin (us non-breeders can't keep track of how diluted the blood lines get), anyway the teenage relative is leaving the house and her mother says: "Remember texting while driving is unsafe." To which the young adult replies: "I'll try to remember."

Now I was good with that line of conversation ending right there, like I said, this is not a close relative, so I would not be expected to attend the funeral. But an aunt or some other meddling relative piped up and said: "She doesn't actually text while driving, does she?" Followed by: "we are trying to break her of the habit" then "what are you an idiot, take the phone away" and "what if she has a flat tire on a country road". You know this entire argument or perhaps have seen it on Dr. Phil. In fact, this incident would not even have made my techno-crappy list if the under-verbal-assault mother had not eventually turned to me and asked: "Don't you think there is a lot of ridiculous over reaction in this conversation?"

I would point out again that I had refrained to this moment from offering an opinion and that the mother did ask me a direct question. To which I replied: "I think it all depends on what is more important, a cell phone text message or your child's life."

We didn't stay for lunch.

Exemplar #2

Another friend I visited was doing paperwork for her job as a clinical social worker. She was trying to get 'just one more' case entered before we went out to dinner and was sputtering about 'new pages of redundant information'. It seems that the old two page form is now a new four page form and in her opinion, the added pages really don't ask for any new information.

I suggested that perhaps the redundancy was because not everyone was as conscientious about patient documenting as she was. Perhaps the new pages were to provide more opportunities for information to be expressed and that she was not expected to complete every line and every box for every case or every client.

She said she would have a talk with the IT person at the office. To which I suggested that the IT person only implemented the added pages as part of a software program and that the decision to collect additional information was not made at the IT level. That got some murmured response about techies always wanting more data and I decided to let it drop in favor of a pleasant dining experience.

A few days later, it was reported that the tech did indeed respond to the inquiry by saying: "I don't write the pages, I just type the code." Please don't blame the techie, they are just following orders.

Exemplar #3: Yesterday I sent a copy of that travel map over there in the right side of this here blog to a bunch of friends. Some had asked where I was or where I was going next. So I made a google map and sent it along. Within a few minutes I got two messages that said basically the same:

Good 2 hear from U. Reply later. via Blackberry

First, it is unnecessary to reply to any communication sent by non-work related email. No one should ever be offended when private email goes unacknowledged. In particular, there is no need to tell me that you don't have time to reply now, but you will later. I would have figured that out when you did, in fact, reply later. And I am not impressed that you took time out of your busy day to tap a message into your blackberry and I even think slightly less of you that you even have a blackberry. But I still love you.

Many years ago a good friend and long time email buddy sent me an email with the subject line: FYINRIN, which he explained meant 'For Your Information, No Reply is Necessary.' We have remained great email friends for many, many years precisely because we have this understanding.

So to all my readers, thank you for stopping by to read through the random firings of my synapses. Be assured that dropping by my humble blog involves no commitment on your part, I write without expectations and FYP&ENRIE-UIIC.

For Your Pleasure & Enjoyment, No Response is Expected - Unless It Includes Chocolate