I recently had to take my Honda CR-Z in to find out what was causing a couple lights on my dashboard to be lit. It was my tire sensors gone bad. My car’s a 2012 so they had to order the parts. When I called them this week to find out when the parts might be in, I discovered they wouldn’t be in for a over a month, but what was really funny was the part guy’s response when he saw how long it would take, “Be sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure until those sensors come in.” I almost laughed in his ear. What did he think we did before tire sensors?
As technology has gained precedence over the “old” ways of doing things in our daily lives, those “old” ways are being not only set aside, but totally forgotten in today’s modern world. It’s caused me to wonder just how wise that is. After all, in the uncertain circumstances of our world, to have practical knowledge of how to live without modern conveniences might not be such a bad idea…just in case.
That’s why I found it shocking and sad that such things as home economics, shop class, and other similar types of classes have been eliminated from most, if not all, junior and senior high schools. That’s also why I find the almost total dependence on technology without any practical knowledge of what to do when the power goes off or the grid goes down disturbing.
Young people often laugh, or at least find it amusing, that us older people often do things without technology that they are convinced should be done with it. Our focus has been so drawn to the shiny object of technology that if technology was no longer there many would be at a loss to live their lives. Smart phones, smart homes, smart appliances, smart cars are all nice, but are actually making us dumb because we are becoming too dependent on them being there. Their absence would spell disaster for many people who have no clue how to live without them.
I lived through a time before there was internet, cell phones, self-parking cars or cars with tire sensors. I lived in a time of black and white TV with three channels, having to call the operator to be connected with a local number, having to check your tire pressure and pass a parallel parking test to get your driver’s license. I know how to cook from scratch and use a manual can opener. I can sew, either by hand or with a sewing machine, to repair or make my clothes. The list goes on and there are still things that other people can do the “old” way that I can’t, but have acquired books to show me how should I need to do so.
I thought my husband was kidding when he once told me that he was talking to a young person who had no idea how to use a can opener. Seriously? It boggled my mind. I know there are families out there who have passed down practical knowledge through the generations, but there are so many who haven’t. Now, we’ve reached a critical juncture in our existence where the old ways are either being pooh-poohed away or they just aren’t known at all.
We’re in a time when climate change is making things like fire season out West come sooner, be more widespread and destructive. Tornadoes and hurricanes come more frequently, are more forceful, and create more damage and loss of life. They tell us to be prepared, to have a plan, and have survival supplies stored for just such an event. Should we not always have a “Plan B” for the worst that could happen?
I’m not trying to be a Debbie-downer here or a doomsday prophet. What I’m asking you to do is imagine your world dialed back to a time before technology or even electricity and ask yourself how you would still live your life? I admire the Amish for their ability to live in a modern world and still keep to their “old” ways where there is no electricity and no technology – not even a car. Should anything happen to our technology grid, along with the electricity, they probably won’t even notice.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should all live that way. I, for one, wouldn’t want to….unless I had to. What I am saying is there are so many people that wouldn’t know the first thing about where to begin to survive without all the technology. I believe that is folly. I’ve come to believe that there is not only a place for both technology (the new) and tradition (the old) in our world but it would be wise for us to know both. Practical knowledge and technology are not adversaries. They aren’t mutually exclusive. There is room for both and maybe even a necessity in today’s world for being familiar with both.
The younger generations would be wise to ask the older generations what they know about living and surviving without all this technology, just in case someday they might need that knowledge. Don’t know any Baby-boomers (or older)? Pick up a book on doing things “old-school” or, using your tech, research the internet for information on how to survive when the power goes off or the tech stops working. It might be very enlightening. It might startle you to know that life can be, and was, lived without “smart” anything other than what lies between the ears…the brain.
In the meantime, I’ll be checking my tire pressure the old way, at least until those sensors come in…