A couple of weeks ago, I was taking a morning walk. As I walked, I was remembering a conversation I had the day before with my eight year old daughter. We were discussing the room that is my daughters' playroom - a garage that was converted into a "rec room" back in the 80's. In the playroom, there is a desktop computer circa 2007ish. It's less than ten years old, yet it seems archaic. During our conversation, my daughter referred to that computer as "the old-fashioned laptop." I realized that, in her memory, most computers are laptops - much lighter, sleeker, and streamlined than the TV-tube like monitor, separate keyboard, hard drive tower, and speakers that consume the desk in that room.
As I replayed this conversation in my mind and giggled to myself, my iPhone, which I carried in my hand, dinged signaling an incoming email. Almost reflexively, I raised my hand to read the new message.
Of course, at the same time, I was pondering possible blog post topics (because bloggers are always pandering possible blog post topics) and this was one of those perfect equations. My daughter's reference to obsolete technology and my dependence on a modern device added up to equal a list of modern conveniences that we take for granted. If you really think about it, the scientific advances we've made in a relatively short period of time are incredible. We have become so accustomed to having them, however, that we often don't even think about them.
- Television - Even my dad, just one generation away from mine, remembers getting his family's first television as a child. Of course, it was black and white. In less than one man's lifetime, TV's have evolved into High Definition, gigantic flat screen entertainment. Now, it would be extremely rare to find a home - or even a doctor's office waiting room - that doesn't have at least one television.
- Appliances - As a mom, I am quite dependent on my washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, microwave, and even the toaster. I often despise them because of the monotony they symbolize, however I cannot imagine life with out them (and I wouldn't want to!) Going back to washboards, hand cranked dryers, and cooking on a wood stove?? No thank you!
- Cars - With three kids, numerous errands, and multiple after school activities, I spend a lot of time in my car - a car that has even more modern conveniences like a back up camera and doors that close automatically. We can go just about anywhere we want at anytime. Other than the occasional "We had to walk uphill 10 miles in the snow" story from our elders, we rarely consider how different our lives would be without our vehicles.
- Clean Water - Yes, this is a convenience and one that we really, really take for granted. Last
- Education - Education can be hot button topic. It is right now in my state. But, I come from a family of educators and was a public school teacher myself. Our education system is far from perfect, but the fact that anyone at all can go learn is wonderful. This is not the case for many children around the world.
- Medicine- Got a cold?? Maybe even strep throat? We all know that diseases which were once fatal are now cured with simple antibiotics or have been all but wiped out by vaccines. We have come a long way from small pox outbreaks and polio epidemics.
- Stuff - I used to like to watch Little House on the Prairie. They went to Oleson's Mercantile for fabric, flour, and various items that they couldn't grow at home. Do you remember that store? Now think about Target or Wal-Mart. We don't go there to buy sugar. We go to buy STUFF. Need shampoo? You have about 50 options - colored hair, straight hair, curly hair, dry hair, etc. The same is true of lotion and deodorant and toothpaste and granola bars and potato chips and socks and toys and clothes and ...and...and...and..... Sometimes I feel like we are surrounded and consumed by stuff.
- Food - This one sort of coincides with the "stuff." You see, in Oleson's Mercantile, there was very little food to purchase because everyone grew their own. Now, you can go to the store to grab bread, or veggies, or meat, or milk, or ice cream, or pasta, or chocolate. I often get frustrated by the growing expense of feeding my family. However, I cannot imagine having to grow everything myself and butcher my own animals in order to put dinner on the table!
- Phones - Kind of like televisions, telephones used to be a luxury that only some homes had.
- Technology - This is a pretty broad term, I know, but just think about all the technology we use everyday. Computers, GPS devices, and medical equipment that can see inside our bodies just to name a few. It is truly remarkable.
How about you?? What is a modern convenience you take for granted, but know you could not live without?