Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Future of Waiting

In the magical time of 1989, I dreamed of an utopian future where technology transformed every aspect of my life.  Flying time machine DeLoreans, dust-repellent paper, mind control video games, and toilet faxes would populate this world.  Everything would work instantly, from re-hydrating a pizza in 15 seconds, to receiving a facelift in under 30 minutes.  At the very least, I thought we would have instant drying clothes that form fit to your body with a touch of the button--very handy when falling into fountains off the hoverboard.

Now, I know that we come a long way since the Apple IIGS, but we're nowhere near the awesomeness predicted by the futuristic film Back to the Future Part II.  I blame a little on over-ambition.  For example, in order for Jaws 16 to come out in 2015, that means we would have to have had a new Jaws movie every two years.  That might have happened if we accomplished instantaneousness.  However, the computer companies would never let that happen.  It would corrode their power.

How do our computer overlords keep us enslaved?  One word: updates.

Here is my typical day involving technology:
  • Wake up and make coffee.  All is right in the world.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the puppy is licking itself happily.  Look away and get my laptop open to start work before the Princess wakes up to take my full, undivided attention.
  • "Windows will make important automatic updates.  Any attempts to stop us will result in the loss of your first born.  These updates are crucial.  We know that you used your laptop yesterday without a problem, but that was yesterday.  We live in a more dangerous time.  Just trust us." 
  • A countdown timer appears daring me to cut the red wire before my computer explodes and takes out the city.  Switch to the Xbox while I wait for the computer to "fix" itself.  If I can't work I might as well save the world from aliens.
  • "To use this device, an update is required.  If you refuse the update you will not be able to use the device.  You have the right to refuse, but then instead of a multi-media gaming machine, you will just have a $250 paper weight.  I don't care if you just want to play a four-year-old game.  You're in our world now." 
  • Select yes, put down controller, and back away from the machine slowly.  Decide to check email off the ol' iPhone.  At least I can check in on all that important spam.
  • "This application will only work with an update to your iOS system.  Unfortunately, you only have an iPhone 3GS.  That was released, like, three years ago.  Our iOS system cannot be updated on the 3GS.  Buy a newer phone, jerk.  After all, what's $299 between friends?"
  • Go back to bed and curl up in the fetal position.
Maybe its better that we aren't as up-to-date as Hill Valley, 2015.  Midway through a morning jog, you would jerk to a stop in the middle of the street while your self-lacing shoes had to perform a mandatory update, thus getting hit by a hover car whose steering has been disabled to perform the crucial navigation patch.  After all, this is the...

Crap, mandatory Java update.

PS: What, strange person reading this over my shoulder at the library, Back to the Future Part II wasn't an attempt to predict 2015 life?  Next you'll tell me that The Little Mermaid doesn't accurately portray undersea life.  And that, my nonfriend, is a world I don't want to live in!


  1. I loved (LOVED!) this post. It had a great beat and I could dance to it. This is definitely one of the more aggravating things in my life and you've summed it up beautifully.

    Sidenote: when I clicked "publish" for this comment, it took me to another page for me to "update" something in my profile and threatened that without this update I wouldn't be able to recover my password blah blah blah. I am not even kidding.

  2. Thanks for the positive reinforcement! (BTW, I love Nanny Goats in Panties. It almost makes me want to move to Sacramento... almost).

    Updates have recently been the bane of my existence, leading me to lose an entire podcast episode midway through editing. And all I can do is give my computer the glaring of a lifetime.

  3. Oh my goodness YES. I loathe all of the updates! Especially when the Playstation has to go through one and Abby is yelling at me to "Turn on Garfield faster, Mommy!!!".

    1. Which is ironic because Garfield is one slow, fat, lazy cat.