Delivery drones that crash into telephone poles. Eyeglasses stockpiling video wherever the wearer walks. Dick Tracy wristwatches that do everything but tell time. The deeper into the future we proceed, the more obvious it becomes that this whole progress thing ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Yeah. Sure. It's nice to have greater computing power in your pocket than accompanied Apollo to the moon, but the downside is ceding dominance in another power relationship to an inanimate object. One that keeps track of our every movement. We buy and carry our own bugs.
Indeed, we did learn how to make tomatoes mature within a month, but they taste like cardboard dipped in stagnant pond water. Placing it on the tail end of the good, the bad and the ugly of progress.
Don't get me wrong; this is no sepia-toned love letter to a romantically imagined, totally fictional yesteryear. The past was lousy. It sucked big, beige banana slugs from Mars. Society was primitive, boring and unjust. And slow. Today, it's pretty much the same, only faster. We're all about speed. Kids are streaming Hulu in the womb.
But perhaps we've focused too much on the new, rather than fine-tuning the tried and the true. For instance -- GPS units. Used to be only NASA had them. Now two are in my possession. One in the car and one on my phone. But getting lost is still in the cards, because both insist on steering me over cliffs or into oncoming traffic. And not infrequently, over a cliff into oncoming traffic.
Some things don't really needed fixing. One-cup coffee makers are fine. For people who don't like coffee. Brewing coffee is not a chore. It's an art. Toilets in public rest rooms. Doubt if our grandparents were ever startled by a presumptuous automatic flush. What was wrong with the big chrome toggle on the side? You could use your foot. Seems more sanitary than an unrequested butt douche.
Proceed directly to the washbasins. Who among us hasn't pitifully shuffled from sink to sink waving over, under, nearby the faucet base, trying to activate some randomly positioned, unseen electric eye? Anyone watching on closed-circuit cameras would think we're horizontally motivated crazy persons shooing away swarms of gnats. And don't think people aren't watching on closed circuit cameras.
The faucets that do feature handles require engineering degrees from MIT to operate. Hot on the left, cold on the right is a distant memory. Design has finally triumphed over functionality. And beware the turbo hand dryers powered by small jet engines, which replaced the automatic paper-towel dispensers triggered by shoulder and elbow movements 30 feet away.
Television. Who really needs 1000 channels? By the time you've gone around the horn and scoped out what you want to watch, it's over. Of course, half the stations are flacking home gym/juicer/skin moisturizers that grow hair and clean your pet while the pounds melt away and your hose retracts automatically.
And zombies. Whose idea was it to come up with fast, smart zombies? Zombies are supposed to trudge and meander. Zombies don't apocalypse. They stumble. Isn't time to bring back the slow, dim zombies? Of course we still have the Tea Party for that. Sorry. Couldn't resist.