I frikkin’ love living in this day and age. It’s so trippy, sometimes, to step back and realize that we live in a futuristic society. Maybe it doesn’t look like “the future” pop culture sold to us, but make no mistake — if you went back 15 years in time and hung out with some high schoolers from 1996, they would be blown away by stuff we take for granted — tablet computers? Smartphones? Streaming music and video? Websites like WebMD?
Obviously, I’m talking about tech here. On a socio-political level, it sometimes feels like we’re regressing to the dark ages. That’s a whole ‘nother conversation, but it’s also a visceral reminder that we sometimes picture the future as this whole package — a package of improved tech and a utopian (or at least proto-utopian) society, where racism and sexism and classism and poverty have been addressed and eradicated, and that’s why we often don’t recognize the advances we have made.
Anyway, the reason I was thinking about all this was because I had an opportunity to visit some friends in a less-connected area, and their internet hookup took freaking forever. The funny thing is, it didn’t actually take that long. I mean, compared to our hookup speeds with a cable modem down in the city, yeah. It took awhile for their webpages to load. But when you compare how long their internet connection takes to load a page with how long my dad’s dial-up modem in 1998 took to load a page, holy shit. Mind blowing difference. And my dad was (and is) a complete luddite — he’s always had the established tech, not the cutting-edge exciting stuff. So I knew nothing other than dial up and floppy disks until I married my husband in 2001.
And isn’t this exciting? I mean, for me I went from a CRT tv and computer moniter to an LCD screen in my husband’s home. I went from a predominantly VHS collection to DVD-only, and within a few years my husband and I were buying Blu-Ray DVD’s and streaming HD movies. I went from listening to cassette tapes and the occasional CD to buying streaming music online. I went from a land line phone to a cell phone-only system, and in cell phones I’ve gone (in a decade’s time) from a basic flip phone to a phone that texts and plays music to a smartphone, where I can watch videos and play games and text and check my e-mail and set my calender and alarms and make phone calls and even video calls. What is this magical world I live in?!? Cars and motorcycles are powered by batteries, buses are running hybrid fuels, and all this technology has made us more conscious of a global economy.
I love tech. I love that my new phone has a 12 hour battery life, and it’s endlessly amusing to me that after owning it only a week, I find myself thinking, “Already?” when I see the orange bar indicating that I need to charge it. My old smartphone (which I had less than a year!) had a 4-6 hour charge. My phone before that wasn’t a smartphone, and it’s charge was 3-4 hours on a good day. I love how quickly we adapt to tech, how in just a few short years I’m using to my web pages loading in the blink of an eye or my smartphone battery lasting forever. The speed of the internet has improved by hundreds of thousands of kilobits in just a few short years — my husband just did a speed test and we’re downloading over 9,000 kilobits per second, almost 300 times fast than what our connection speeds used to be.
This is basically just a gushing post of wonder-joy about our modern world. 🙂