Things have to be convenient today. Speed is the key word in everything people do day-in and day-out. I was thinking about this the other day (It never ceases to amaze me how my mind never takes a break) when a friend of mine and I stopped at a fast food restaurant. There was a very long line of 10 or 11 cars waiting to place their order at the drive-through window, so we decided to go inside to have lunch instead of waiting in the long line.
We parked, went in, ate and were ready to pay the check and leave when I looked through the window to see the person in the old black station wagon that we would have been behind getting his order at the drive-up. If the driver of that car had just gone inside like we did he would have been done with lunch and on his way by now. Obviously that person was looking for a convenient and supposedly speedier way to get on with his life.
My point is plain and simple: In or search for speed and convenience today we, more often than not, get neither one. It’s lunacy really, but the things that are meant to save time, simplify and be convenient actually have the opposite effect.
My father like most patriotic Americans was continuously buying gizmos that proved to be a calamity, such as a water pick that was so powerful it left the bathroom looking like the inside of a car wash.
He loved the automatic garage door opener despite the fact it would stop functioning on a weekly basis and automatic curtains that, in theory, were suppose to, with the flick of a switch, open and close effortlessly. After the first month they of course would break and show a mind of their own. One pair would open and close opposite of each other and the other pair had one side that wouldn’t stop opening and closing and the other would do nothing at all for a few minutes then start to emit smoke. My brothers and I would stear clear of them, but they were a source of entertainment if there was nothing of the TV.
Now there are Voice-Controlled Systems. It’s the butt of many jokes in the smartphone world, but it extends to new cars as well. Not only are these unusually inconvenient for what they were made for, with many requiring motorists to speak as if they were controlling a menu-driven computer (“audio system ... USB device ... artist ... Taylor Swift ... track ... uhhh ‘Bad Blood' ... etc.), they tend to misinterpret commands easily, especially from drivers with accents or speech affectations.
I try to stop my brain from going into overdrive thinking about this, but I immediately think of Elmer Fudd with a strong southern accent stuttering into the voice-control system or even worse, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I love the absurd so-called convenience of conveyor belts in airports. You display the epitome of laziness if you are an able-bodied person who cannot get from gate 8 to gate 11 on his own hind legs. People feel oddly superior on conveyor belts.
My brother use to have great fun by walking beside one of these people and gradually start quickening his pace with every elongated stride, breaking into a full trot if necessary to finish ahead in a personal triumph against pointless convenience.
One more in the same vein are automatic store doors with sensors actuators that detect your approaching and the door whooshes open as if by ghostly invisible hands. I enjoy stepping back and forth triggering the sensors so the door continuously opens and shuts for no reason, futilely hoping for any indication that the door knows it is being duped by the superiority of the human being and is helpless to stop it.
Two lessons that can be learned from all of my rambling here is: You should always keep in mind that the first three letters of convenience are CON and next is send your children to the nearest garage door repair-school.