Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ten Things We Can't Do Without

I recently saw two lists, each claiming to be the top ten things we can't do without. While the two lists had several items in common, they weren't identical. That got me thinking. There are some things that are very obvious and others that are so much a part of our day-to-day activity that we don't think about them as being essential to our daily lives. Of course, when that item is suddenly not available, its impact becomes glaringly important.

Almost in no particular order here are ten items (without the first item most everything else becomes a non-issue) that we feel we can't do without.

1) Electricity: From that almost all else flows. Without that wall plug-in receptacle that we totally take for granted, all our gadgets would be useless. They would simply sit there collecting dust. What's that you say? Your laptop computer runs on battery? Your cell phone runs on battery? You have a battery operated television? Well, unless they run on solar power, those rechargeable batteries need to be recharged on a regular basis. Do you remember the last time a major storm knocked out all power for days? I do. And since I have an all electric kitchen, I couldn't even boil water for instant coffee. That was a rude shock! And, of course, the refrigerator and freezer were no longer functional.

2) Plumbing/Flush Toilets: No explanation necessary here. :)

And now that the two primary candidates are out of the way, let's talk about specifics.

3) Air Conditioning (and heating): Office buildings, hotels, restaurants, stores, private residences, even our vehicles…we can't imagine them without air conditioning and heating so we can be comfortable in all seasons.

4) Computers: Needless to say, our computers are an integral part of life. Whether you're always on the go with your laptop or stay at home with your desktop, computers are a major factor in our lives. And not only our personal computers. Look around you…everywhere you go and almost everything you do is somehow computer controlled or computer generated…even the monthly bill for the electricity.

5) High Speed Internet: Closely aligned with number four is the need to be able to access and use the internet as quickly as possible. Waiting for a large download that seems to be moving at a snail's pace is way too frustrating.

6) Cell Phone: I am not addicted to my cell phone. I don't need to have it in my hand at all times, require hands free operation for my car because I'm not capable of driving to the grocery store without checking for text messages, tweets, or updates during the ten minutes it takes me to drive there. However, even on the most basic level a cell phone has become a necessity. The pay phone seems to be something rapidly disappearing from the American landscape. Even at airports where you used to be able to find a long row of pay phones as soon as you got off a plane, that's no longer the reality. Maybe a couple of pay phones, but even those usually require phone cards rather than actual money.  We no longer need to make sure we always have coins for a phone call if we have an emergency.

7) Television: Yep, whether we use it for entertainment or news and other informational areas, we all have them and can't seem to do without them. There's something both sad and funny about surfing through fifty channels and complaining that there's nothing on. And if the cable goes out…well, enough said.

8) Automatic garage door opener: One of those many things you take for granted because it's always there. Hmmm…I think we just segued back to electricity. There you are, in your car with the rain pouring down and 60mph winds. You're wearing your best clothes because you've just come from the society event of the decade and now you need to get out of your car to unlock and manually open the garage door. Or, everything is covered in ice and snow and you're thanking the deity of your choice that you made it home safely…but now you need to walk on that ice to get your garage door open.

9) Automobiles: In some places more than others. There are certainly places where one can live without the need for a car because the public transportation is excellent. Some places where owning a car is a disadvantage due to the expense of needing a place to park it. Certainly New York City (or more specifically, Manhattan) comes to mind. But for most of us, an automobile is an absolute necessity in order to get to and from our job, go to the grocery store, and other required chores.

10) I think I'm going to declare this slot as a tie between remote controls and coffee: We definitely have become a society too lazy to get out of the chair to change the channel on the television. And that's only one of many remote controls. Even on our key ring we have the remote door lock/unlock and trunk open for our car. And coffee…it's obviously big business when there are shops whose only product is coffee. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have a small four cup coffee maker in my office so that I don't need to go to the kitchen to make coffee first thing in the morning when I turn on my computer and access my high speed internet while reaching for the remote control to turn on television to watch the morning news…well, as you can see, I'm back at electricity again. :)

Honorable Mention: I felt compelled to include chocolate and wine.  :)

What modern convenience is an absolute must have for you?


s7anna said...

I agree with you on most of them...with a few modifications...Here are my top 10 can't live withouts (in random order)
1. electricity - I've visited Asia and experience massive daily black-outs (I can say with a 100% surety that time travelling to the past is a no-go for me...I like light waay too much)
2. Plumbing/flush toilets - an absolute necessity (no explanations there)
3. Air conditioning/heating - I live in Canada... summers here are fierce and incredibly hot... winters here are a total bitch...-thus these two items are a necessity and not so much a luxury
4. Computers aka my macbook - I'd be a lost lamb without my macbook - I need my tech fix (these fingers were made for a keyboard baby) *grin*
5. Internet - GOD BLESS THE INTERNET! I don't even want to think of a life without my internet's like air - I MUST HAVE!
6. Cellphones - always's a safety measure.
7. Public transportation - I don't drive and buses are a god-send...they get me everywhere I need to go...
8. Ebooks - there are only so many books I can keep in my apartment
9. Books - Hail to Almighty print word. I can't imagine life without my books...they help me cope with reality.
10. Fridge/stove/microwave - helllooo FOOD anyone? lol
*must also add washer & dryer - there is no way I'm able to handle the gazillion piles of dirty laundry w/o these nifty machines


Samantha Gentry said...

Anna: Thanks for posting your top 10 list. I defiitely agree with you about books (e and print) and certainly the kitchen appliances. A block of ice to keep things cold, nothing frozen except in winter, and the concept of beating the clothes on the rock by the stream just doesn't work at all. :)

Mary Ricksen said...

Well I could live without the cell phone and I don't have cable.
We can't live without money, food, friends,a roof over our heads a regular phone, oh and pets!!!

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: I use my cell phone for outgoing emergencies only, and a way for my family to reach me in case of emergency when I'm out of town. In fact, they are the only ones who even have my cell phone number. :) Money, food, friends, shelter and pets ... all good necessities.

Maeve said...

I'd have to slot my eyeglasses in here somewhere. I'd be in sorry shape without them!

Samantha Gentry said...

Maeve: computer, television, books ... you're right. Doesn't do any good to have them if you can't see them! :)

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Once, when I was young and adventurous I lived in a caravan in quite remote places. We had no electricity and I fetched water in buckets from the nearest stream. My daughter was still in nappies (not disposables!). The thing I appreciated most when back in 'normal' living conditions was running water -I still so appreciate that when you turn the tap on, water comes out!

Samantha Gentry said...

Leigh: That sounds like quite a "challenge". It's the type of experience that really makes you appreciate the basics such as running water. Interesting times to reflect on, but it definitely makes you happy when you turn the tap on and water comes out.

stacey said...

I'm not shur about other people But I can't do with out Bath Tissue and the old days thay had to us rags that thay had to us over and over agin.


Samantha Gentry said...

Stacey: You're right...absolute total necessity!

Tara S Nichols said...

LOL, by number 9 I was starting to think "What about Chocolate and Wine?" And then there it was, number ten. But sometimes when number 1 isn't available, number 10 with a little firelight is just the thing that saves the day.

Samantha Gentry said...

Hi, Tara: Absolutely, I could not allow a list of necessary things go without a mention of wine and chocolate. :)

morgan wyatt said...

I thought my day through carefully and the one thing you left out is the dog. My family is convinced he is the favored child. Often, we lose high speed Internet, cable and electricity and we survive. If we lost the dog, we would all be out on the street searching. I doubt the hound will ever make a break for it, though.

I do like my cell phone too.

Samantha Gentry said...

Morgan: One of the lists of 10 that I saw had pets listed as one of the items. It's amazing how our pets can become such an integral part of our lives.

Thanks for stopping by.

Margaret said...

Although I agree with yours, my additional personal favorites are duct tape, super glue,
sharpies,plastic zip bags, and a 6'5" tall, generous, tolerant, loving husband named Mike. Rounding out my list are food deliveries, a son who fixes computers free, pink light bulbs when needed,"color artists" at my salon, and a good friend with whom to talk.

Samantha Gentry said...

Margaret: LOL. I see you got home okay last night and after that long drive you're still awake at 1AM and playing online.