Sunday, May 30, 2010
Ten Things We Can't Do Without
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?