Our microwave oven at work died the other day. Before you get out your miniature violins to play me an appropriately melancholy melody, I will say that we are not completely at a loss. There is a working microwave in the kitchenette one floor below us. So rather than walk the fifteen paces it usually takes me to heat my lunch, I actually have to walk down a hall, a flight of stairs, then another hall, to warm my meal. A distance that takes perhaps 3 minutes of time. And yet, I have viewed this as an inconvenience. Simply because I’m spoiled. I’ve actually considered bringing in more sandwiches and salads for lunch that won’t need heating so I don’t have to travel as far. Keep in mind that almost every day I go for a walk with co-workers at lunch time, and we’ll walk an average of 2 – 4 miles. But walk downstairs? Sheesh, what a pain. I realized I reached an all new level of absurdity today when I actually carried my lunch-in-a-box to the ELEVATOR to reach my destination, because if I took the stairs I would have to use my security card at two doorways. Taking the elevator avoided that troublesome extra effort and actually delivered me directly across from the kitchen.
My own garish display of this First World Problem got me to thinking about other instances in which the sheer convenience and ease we have for accomplishing simple tasks in our day-to-day lives has made us not just potentially lazy, but overindulged and… well, kind of ridiculous.
First, let’s revisit this Microwave situation. We have several stores within a 7-minute drive in which we could purchase a new unit. And yet none of us feels like making a special trip, and have instead talked about whoever is the next person who is already planning to visit a Target or Costo, could pick it up. Why go “out of our way” for 20 minutes? It is much more productive to talk about how it is broken for several days and watch people switch to drinking iced coffee rather than having to go downstairs to reheat a cuppa joe.
This weekend I used the drive-up ATM at my bank. And grumbled when I had to unlatch my seatbelt and open my door slightly and skootch my butt over a few inches in order to reach the machine. Clearly being able to stay in my vehicle is not easy enough, I want the machine to reach out directly to me.
I get annoyed if I have to stop and move the plug on the vacuum cleaner because the cord isn’t long enough to reach the whole upstairs. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who will do that odd stretching ballet-like move to try to reach that far corner, then decide the missed area can wait until next time. As if I’ll have more patience then. It’s almost as bad as bending over to pick up something the vacuum didn’t catch, dropping it, and trying to slurp it up again rather than throwing it out.
Computers. I could just stop right there. But I think my favorite warped sense of troublesomeness is when we all get that alert that updates are available. I haven’t had to search to find out if any new updates need to be performed, the machine is telling me “it’s time”. And yet I click the “remind me later” option. The updates will likely make my laptop run more efficiently, or fix any issues any of us have been having, and will likely take less than ten minutes to complete. Yet I can’t be bothered at that moment to stop what I’m doing to make it happen. “Ugh, not right now, maybe tomorrow…” Click.
Lastly, that brings us to the modern convenience that has possibly led us down the biggest path of silliness. Texting. My girlfriend and I enjoy watching some of the same TV Shows. Rather than getting together in person to watch them, or even call each other to discuss the plot lines, we text each other to “talk” about various Voice contestants, plot twists on Downton, and to share laughs over Modern Family. The craziest part? She and I live right next door to each other. Somewhere along the way in First World advancements and efficiencies, going tippy-tappy-tap with our fingers replaced all other forms of personal contact.
There are a lot of things that we R.W.’s do the hard way… perhaps when we get the chance to take advantage of doing things the easy way, we go a wee bit too far to the dark side. I suppose as long as we don’t give in to the temptation to complain about it, it is ok to cheat a bit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to search around the house to find the remote because that is much more productive then reaching over and turning the TV on manually.