Years ago I owned a small handyman business. I had installed a microwave into a wall for a customer and she was telling me just how useful a microwave was to her. I had been thinking about getting one for my wife for some time and this was all the push I needed to get her one. As soon as I got home, I told her that I was going to get her a microwave. Her response was that she didn’t need one. I ignored her and we drove out to the appliance store and bought one. For the first week I don’t think she used the stove. We are on our third microwave now, we wore out the previous two.
I bought her a minivan that she “didn’t need, didn’t want”. She was happy with her four door sedan. She is now on her third minivan. She drives it every single day, going shopping, and ferrying children to and from school, work, sports etc.
The most recent one I bought her has a number of options that she “didn’t need”. She said she didn’t need a backup camera but this one has one. She recently said that she would never get another van without this option. DVD player? What does she need that for? It only took a short time for her to learn that this was an ideal way to keep the kids quiet in the back of “Nana’s Bus”. A power lift gate seemed lazy to her. She thought she could continue doing this manually like she did with her old minivans. Now it’s push a button it opens, push a button it closes. Same with the power sliding doors. Another win!
The next thing I got her that she “didn’t need” was a cell phone. She said if anyone wanted to reach her they could call on our home phone. I have bought her several phones since then. From a brick phone to a flip phone to whatever phone was currently available. Today she can surf the web with her phone. She panics if she misplaces her phone now. We occasionally have to dial her phone number so she can find where she left it.
She recently dropped her phone and shattered the screen. We had to opt for expedited shipping to get a replacement for her. Of course this new one is a different size from her old one so we had to buy a new case for this. She also bought a small purse to carry this around so she can misplace this too. She has developed a malady that I call “cell phone hand” where she is frequently carrying it with her left hand.
We have Roombas. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a robotic vacuum cleaner. You push a button and it takes off. It wanders around aimlessly cleaning your floors and when it is done, drives itself back to the charging station. You can leave the house and it will operate without any human intervention at all. It doesn’t get any easier than this and it does a darn good job.
She didn’t want one of these either. “I can vacuum the floor” was her way of saying thank you, “I can carry the vacuum cleaner down from the upstairs closet whenever I need to vacuum.” The vacuum weighs almost as much as she does. I don’t think the very expensive machine I bought her has seen the light of day since the first Roomba arrived. We now have two of these. She calls them her upstairs maid and her downstairs maid. We have also worn one of these out. Again, I ordered a replacement online. Our upstairs maid got a real workout until the replacement Roomba arrived. Our upstairs maid even talks to us in either French or English. Kinda sexy to have a French maid living upstairs.
My wife loved to read books and would go to the library at least once a week to get new books. She would load up a large bag and walk the 1.1 miles to get there. She would spend quite a bit of time selecting books, refill her bag and then walk back home.
Enter a Kindle. She didn’t want this either. She said that she could easily go to get the books she needed and that the Kindle was just too expensive. She used this via our Wi-Fi to surf the web, stay in touch with people, look for recipes, etc. It’s not just for reading. She wore the first one out recently. It started to have a mind of its own. It would change screens when it wanted, wouldn’t charge and generally became a pain. I had to replace it. Until it arrived, she struggled with her old one.
Of course the new one was slightly larger than her old one so the case wouldn’t fit. We had to buy a new case. It also worked differently than her old one so she had to learn how to use it. The last problem was we had to load all her Wi-Fi passwords, Facebook accounts, Emails, etc. on the new one. This took the better part of a weekend.
Yes technology is scary at first but once you get used to it, it becomes indispensable.
Norb is a writer and an early adopter who currently uses 2 laptops and is on his fifth cell phone. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.