“What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without? (Bonus topic: What technology do you wish would disappear from the world?)”
I think I decided to respond to this one more for the bonus topic than for the original one.
There are forms of technology I actually do like. Anything that reproduces music, for instance; so much would be lost without the ability to record. I have a set of Rachmaninoff playing his own piano concerti, and believe me, nobody plays it like the original. He just books through the music, and in some places, it sounds like the orchestra is a fraction of a beat off because they can’t keep up with him. How else would you know that if not for recordings?
And of course, my computer. But then, I began my professional life as a secretary, anyway, and it’s still what I enjoy best, so having the ability to edit documents at the touch of a Delete button is still a delight for me (yes, I learned on a manual — with carbon paper that produced copies — and that little metal plate that you stuck behind each sheet of paper whenever you made a typo and had to erase it). In addition to which, I’ve met so many wonderful people I would never otherwise have known — they come not just from around the country, but around the world, too.
But what do I wish had never, ever been invented? The telephone. Words do not exist to describe my attitude towards the telephone. I’ll wait forever before I book an appointment by phone — I’ve been known to drive miles out of my way to make the appointment in person. I never call for information if I can help it. I don’t know what it is about telephones that I can’t stand; maybe the fact that I don’t get a chance to compose my thoughts before I have to respond?
So you can imagine how I feel about cell phones. I actually do have one, and it’s proved useful, now and again. But people ambling down the street attached to this virtual umbilical cord just look silly. That woman who fell into the fountain at the Pennsylvania mall? She got what was coming to her. Driving while talking? Some day I’m going to get out of my car, grab the thing out of Donna Dimwit’s hand, and throw it into the woods. Don’t you people ever take time out?! The worst I ever saw was the guy in the restaurant with his teenage son, talking on the telephone while pretending to have lunch with his kid. That’s just wrong. That kid will be gone before you know it, and trust me, he won’t want to talk to you after he’s gone.
Put the damn phone down. Turn it off, or unplug it. (Yes, that is possible.) Go outside and listen to the birds, or hunker down and listen to the sound of the rain/sleet/howling wind while you immerse yourself in a good book. Life’s too short to spend it yakking about nothing.