Technology as a Cultural Phenomenon WHAT I DID: I began on Friday morning by just sitting in my car parked in our driveway. I chose not to leave it in the garage because garages make me feel cold and depressed. Then, I drove around for the longest ten minutes of my life. I came home, shut all the power off and sat alone in a cold, dark, empty house. Imagine the reversal of feelings when I overloaded the house with electricity.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY: First, I have to say that I chose to drive around my own neighborhood. I chose Friday morning because hardly anyone is home during the week days, which I know because I'm always home during that time. But, silly me, I forgot that people typically have the day after Thanksgiving off of work. And they weren't all out shopping, either. Anyway, I'll get to that after I tell you about just sitting in my car.
Well, being in a car is a little frightening if you look at it from the beginner's mind. Take for instance all the little pictures on all the various knobs and buttons. The little wind shield washer spay thing, the cigarette thing on the lighter, the oil light, the gas pump that comes on when you are out of gas and so on. These pictures are not self explanatory. In fact, I sat there looking at the silhouette of the oil light and remembered when I was a little kid, I used to think that it meant that one of the seats was reclining. Next time you are in your car, look at it. It looks like a little man resting in his seat, but it's just an oil can. I don't know, maybe I'm crazy.
Anyway, I thought of what it must be like getting into a car if you had just come here from somewhere without cars. For fear of offending someone, I'll just say Tim Buck Tu. (sp?) You would not have the first clue of what to do. Granted, one can learn, but I started to feel that a car is a big, scary object with out the knowledge to operate it. American children nowadays are passengers in cars their whole lives, so when it comes time to drive, they are semi-aware of what moves to make. They have the general knowledge.
When I got on the move, the very slow move, but nonetheless, I realized that many people were putting up their Christmas decorations. That made me think of how much earlier and earlier we as an American society begin our Christmas festivities every year. That's not really relevant, though. I began to realize that these people thought I was looking for a house. They looked at me, looked away and looked back at their house, and then at the neighbor's houses. This must have happened five times. I felt like they wanted an explanation from me because I was driving by them. Maybe they thought I was going to shoot them up in a drive by. I thought about it. (jk) Next, I went home. I started thinking about what a bad idea it had been to drive in my own neighborhood. Next time those people see me, they'll think, "Well, there's that crazy bitch who was driving by all slow." Then I thought that it wasn't such a bad idea. I like to keep people guessing.
On my way in the house, I flipped the switch that shuts off the electricity. Other than the fact that the television was off and there wasn't the hum of the dishwasher or refrigerator, this wasn't completely odd to me. I have such a pet peeve about having lights on during the day. If there is enough natural light coming through the windows to see, it rocks me to the core to have unnatural light. I have been this way ever since I can remember. Maybe it comes from my mom asking me "Are you using that light?" I guess my answer is, "No I'm not really using it if I have the sun." One thing I thought about while all the power was off was Amish people. Now, I can understand their origins because back in the day, no one had electricity. Their religious beliefs were the only major differences from that of other people. But now, knowing about all the technology and advances, how can they go on living such simple lives? Of course, my perspective is biased, I've had electricity since I was born. And another thing. If the Amish are so dead set against technology and determined to live "the good life," how come I saw an Amish man on the pay phone at Meijer? And why do they ride in cars? And have credit cards? O.K., I have to say that I did not make it the whole ten minutes with everything on. I could not function. The light thing was a big, big problem for me. I got so anxious. Not to mention all the TVs and radio's being on. I think I made it about 6 ÃÂ½ minutes before I shut everything off. I wanted to avoid someone finding me on the floor foaming at the mouth.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF AS A SOCIAL BEING: I learned that too much technology at once is a very bad thing, at least in my case, and too little is a little too depressing. I was just thinking today that I wouldn't be able to function with out the Internet. Well, I was around before the Internet and I did survive. But I think that there are technological advances that are so tremendous, such as the Internet and TV, that it is hard to imagine doing without. I'm glad to live in a time of technology and have the vast learning opportunities that I have.