As my then fiancee, Sweet D and I were planning out wedding, we had a lot of really great, long talks. We had talks about the our future and our past. Funny talks. Serious discussions. Eventually talk turned to our needs and wants for our new home. It was a discussion I’m sure all couples have when they move in together. “I have a crock pot. You have a toaster oven. We should really get a weed eater.” And when we got to the technology portion of our inventory, I really thought she would be ecstatic about the mother load of entertainment gizmos and gadgets I was bringing to the table. Big screen TV, computer, PlayStation2, and the crown jewel of the entertainment package: a TiVO.
This was 7 years ago and DVRs weren’t a ubiquitous part of every cable company’s package. Most of America was still recording their episodes of Seinfeld the old fashioned way – on a VHS tape – and I was an early adopter of TiVO. So I tried to explain to her how TiVO would change her life. TiVO would make sure you got to see all your favorite shows. TiVO could pause a show and let you come back to it. TiVO would learn from what you record and suggest shows that you might also enjoy. TiVO would be your new best friend. It was then that she said the words that still ring in my ears to this day: “I don’t really need all that technology.”
It was the only time I ever questioned whether or not I should be getting married.
For better or worse, she has since come around and we still laugh about that conversation to this day. She is now a huge fan of TiVO, maintains a Facebook page and Twitter account, rocks an iPod (although her taste in music is still a work in progress) and has embraced the Mac and the iPhone. But we had a similar situation recently when we upgraded to our new iPhones and it has stuck with me. As I was paying for our upgrades she said, “I really don’t need a new phone. My old one is fine.” And even though I dismissed her frugal stand, it has been in the back of my mind.
I love all these gadgets, but do I really need all this technology? When I wake up in the morning, I usually check my email on my iPad before I leave the house. I spend my workday in front of a maxed-out Mac with a lightning quick Internet connection. When I go home, we eat in front of our TV and we usually spend the evening watching TV together. When my wife turns in for the evening, I’m either on the Internet, working on my home Mac or spending way too much time playing Xbox. My life is spent in front of one display screen or another and I’m not sure that is a good thing.
So I’m thinking maybe I should do something about it. While I can’t go “Full Amish,” I think this week I’m going to try life circa 1980. No surfing the net. No cable TV and no DVR. No iPods or satellite radio – just local AM/FM stations. I’m already nervous just typing that. I guess that means this will probably be good for me.
Who knows… maybe my wife and I will have a few more really great, long talks this week.
In the 1920s, a company called Burma Shave — producers of brushless shaving cream — started putting signs up that delighted and educated drivers. These