The sun was shining in through the kitchen window. Siddha gnawed on her rubber bone filled with peanut butter, and I ate my peanut butter toast. Ah, sunshine! A welcome sight, I thought, after the dreary, long, winter, dark mornings. My heart leaped at the prospect of spring flowers, sunshiney days and sweatshirt weather. And with a new puppy to train, those early morning potty outings would be much nicer in the light of day.
Then I remembered the ensuing Daylight Savings Time. My first encounter with that phrase was twenty-seven years ago. I was working as a desk clerk at a Holiday Inn in New Mexico. A guest approached the desk and asked if we were on Daylight Savings Time. A born and raised Hoosier, Daylight Savings Time was something I had not ever been aware of. Indiana and Arizona were the only states at that time that did not participate in Daylight Savings Time. Once the man realized I was new to the state, he understood that I had no experience with turning the clocks forward and/or backward. We, Hoosiers, did not spring forward, and we did not fall back. We just stood our ground and took it as it came.
It was years later that I moved back to Indiana. And it wasn’t until many years after that Indiana decided to adopt the Daylight Savings Time and join with the majority of the nation in this twice yearly ritual to manipulate time. I admit, at the time, I thought it was a good idea. Maybe it would be safer for all those rural kids waiting for the bus to pick them up at 7:10 a.m. or earlier. As it turned out, though, it just messed things up worse. Now here it was, finally light at 7 a.m. on this March Saturday morning, and we were going to be giving up morning sunshine to have more light for driving home. We’d be waking in the dark and driving to work in the dark again. The thought felt much like someone was sending me back to winter.
It’s funny, we, as humans, have made such progress in the world. Technology is just amazing, and as I sit here typing in my virtual world, I wonder what I would do without cell phones and laptops. Yet it does seem that sometimes the things that aide us, also trip us up. I lost my favorite job ever to technology several years back. It seems a computer could do most of what I had been doing, and it didn’t need health insurance, and they just had to pay for it once. I see the same thing happening around me. With technology, we can now perform tasks in much simpler, efficient ways with much less manpower. Sometimes I imagine we will all be like the members of the Big Butt Family from the 1978 Saturday Night Live skit. Sitting at our computers with robots and machines to do all of our labor, it will be difficult for our backsides not to expand!
For Christmas, my mother-in-law wanted an Amazon Kindle. We love to grant Christmas wishes, so got her one. She was thrilled and when she opened it, my husband and I helped her get it set up and going. She loves it still. Yet, as I helped her with it, and as she told me about using it, I cringed inside. I told my youngest sister, Amy, that I love the feeling of a book in my hands. I love to turn the pages. l love the feel the paper under my fingers, and the smell of books is warm to my heart and reminds me of my deceased grandmother. I love to walk through the library; the New Book section is my favorite – even if those books can only be checked out for two weeks instead of three. Amy agrees with me, but recently, her husband’s company gave him a Barnes and Noble Nook, as a gift of appreciation for his hard work and service (they did other things too, but they are not significant here.) The other day, she confessed to me that she was reading a paperback and found herself feeling annoyed that she could not increase the font, as she could on the Nook. And her book seemed bulky and the pages wanted to close. Guiltily, she had even considered ordering the book for the Nook, even though she was already in possession of the paperback.
Technology makes us lazy. Why turn a page if the device will do it for us? Why put on our $500 glasses if we can just increase the size of the font? Why drive home from work in the dark if we can just change the time? Sometimes I think man needs to just sit there and BE. At least there does seem to be a lot more awareness of that fact. More and more I hear and read about the need to be still in our lives and inside. Maybe we are all just moving so fast that it took getting so extreme for us all to realize that we do need to slow at least part of our lives down some of the time.
Siddha has curled up on a blanket on the floor beside me. At least that hasn’t changed. Dogs are still a man’s – or woman’s – best friend. She keeps it simple. A crumpled leaf tumbling across the yard can get her excited. Somehow, regardless of the leaps and bounds that man has made with technology, I don’t think that anything virtual could replace actually experiencing nature. I’m sure with graphics and high definition, they could make a movie that might make you feel like you are really there, but as far as I am concerned, nothing will ever be able to replace an actual walk through nature with my dog. The wind in my hair, Siddha tugging and turning at every sight and sound – well, it takes me to that quiet place that I am sure technology cannot recreate.