By Al Owens
…Do you ever get the impression that technology has gone too far? It used to be
you’d pick up your telephone, dial 411 and get a human being who’d give you the
telephone number you requested. Nowadays when you call directory assistance, you
get a computer. One that can never understand the name of the person, whose
number you’re requesting. It then says something like, “I'll pass your request
to an operator for further assistance.” Well why didn’t it pass my request along
to the operator for further assistance first? The blasted computer never
understands what I’m saying anyway.
Modern technology has given us increasingly frustrating times when you can’t get
through a supermarket without having to jump out of the way of somebody who
feels compelled to talk on their cell phone while shopping? Is there a need for
somebody to call home to discuss that sale on sweet potatoes?
I’m not particularly anti-cell phone. I am, however, getting a little tired of
people who feel compelled to drag their personal conversations headlong into my
shopping cart. Or those people who think they need to drive along the highway at
15 in a 55 while holding one of those cell phones to their ear! Conversations
they probably wouldn’t have if the person on the other end of that cell phone
was right in front of them.
I’m not necessarily anti-technology. I love computers. I make a living with
mine, but the state of modern technology has given me five remote controls, of
which I can never figure the right button that turns on my television! Instead
of all the confusion, sometimes, in a fit of passion, I just walk over and push
the on switch on my television.
How about those silly television screens that have appeared at checkout counters
in supermarkets? They’re supposed to give you something to do while you wait for
the customers in front of you to check out. They give you weather reports, the
latest scores and the big stories of the day. I never watch them! I’d rather sit
at home and watch television. (after I’ve fiddled with those remote controls)
These days, ATM machines talk back to you. It took me 30 years to get used to
ATM machines, now they’re trying to carry on conversations with me. They don’t
understand, I just want my money, so I can go to the supermarket, buy my TV
dinner, ignore that stupid checkout line television screen, and then go home and
toy with my remote controls!
But technology’s latest advances are still less frustrating than some people. Is
it just me, or does it truly make you wonder what must be going through people’s
minds when you open a door for them, but they don’t even acknowledge your good
Who invented these 10 year-olds who seem compelled to call me “dude” or “man”?
Where did they come from?
Am I wrong to ask the checkout clerk to hold off on discussions about what they
did last night with their fellow checkout clerks, while counting my change?
Am I being a little nitpicky when I ask them to recount my change, and to SHUT
UP while recounting it?
These may be minor frustrations to you, but to me they reach the levels of
It’s that person on the other end of the telephone who’s dialed the wrong
number, and when you let them know there’s nobody by that name there - who
immediately hangs up and calls again – who really ticks me off! People who think
the wrong number won’t be the wrong number two times in a row - who give me
Now back to the cell phone thing. If you must call me from a cell phone don’t
walk, run or drive while calling. It seems like everybody who calls me using
their cell phone gets disconnected! It seems like during the course of every
cell phone conversation I have to ask, “Are you there? Can you hear me?” Please
call me when you get home.