Most days, it feels like my body is decaying. Sometimes, it’s just a general, visceral feeling, typified by nothing in particular, or perhaps by everything I do. The decay manifests itself in more obvious ways as well; a work out at the gym us now followed up with three days of aching muscles, resulting in my screaming like a little girl when, coincidentally, a little girl punches me in the arm. Of course, a lot of this is self-perpetuated; instead of seeing my increasingly hairy face as a sign of manliness, I just view it as a metaphor for my inability to maintain myself; they are weeds encroaching on the garden that is me.
(God damn, that’s one awful metaphor)
So whilst I supposedly continue to grow bigger, more powerful, and possibly more intelligent, I kind of see my relationship with my body as regressing. And in a way, it parallels my relationship with technology. Everything in the tech world is becoming bigger and smaller at the same time. Televisions are about eight times the size they were twenty years ago, yet an eighth as thick. Mobile phones are literally all screen now. Stuff’s gotten portable, too. I’m currently writing this on the train, hoping I don’t cause too much noise with the tap-tap-tapping of my laptop’s keys. (I just read in mX that this was the case on a train yesterday, and the offender was severely berated.) Actually, should I digress to what is going on around me at this moment? Yes, I shall.
Firstly, I hate touching other people on trains. (That rule extends to pretty much my entire life, and everyone in it, to be truthful. Except for that girl in my management tute. If anyone deserves a cheesy angel pickup line, it’s surely her.) If I’m resting my arm on one of the brilliantly-titled armrests, and some other dude decides to put his sweaty radius on it too, then I immediately retract. So it wasn’t really all that pleasing when a fellow passenger chose to sit next to me, and proceeded to literally sweat all over the armrest. Ten minutes after he’s gone, and the evidence has dried up, but I can’t bring myself to lean on it. I get the feeling that the guy’s excess moisture has been forever ingrained into this seat, and there’s no way I’m risking catching whatever disease he has (probably cholera, known science as I do).
And now I’m a little bit pissed off. This guy who’s standing up, despite there being plenty of free seats around, just picked up the used, sweat-destroyed copy of mX on the seat adjacent to me. But rather than perusing it, he’s chosen to throw it at me. It strikes me that this might be his way of breaking the ice; regardless, I give him a death stare, and go back to listening to Weezer.
In the seat in front of me, two fat young gentlemen, presumably brothers, are enjoying a computerised game of chess just a little bit too much. In fact, with all the whooping and hollering going on, I would have guessed that they were engaged in a game of chess-boxing, which is exactly what it sounds like. The integration of such a pairing instantly challenges the osmotic capabilities of history’s greatest duos, the rankings of which looks a little like this:
5. Laurel and Hardy
4. Beer and pizza
3. Seinfeld and Costanza
2. Coffee and donuts (embarrassingly underrated)
1. Bacon and eggs
9,834,210. Country and Western
Anyway, back to my original, mediocre point. It feels to me that every time technology takes a step forward, my relationship with it takes a step back. We got a 50-inch plasma television about 9 months ago. For the first three months that we owned it, everything was glorious; high-definition basketball games, life-sized Bruce Willises, and the ability to spot blemishes on certain actors’ skin all contributed to a utopian viewing experience. But the honeymoon period ended abruptly, as one day the TV decided to pack up shop and refuse its right to crystal-clear reception. Now, all we can get on it are Channels 9, ABC and SBS; if you try to watch anything else, the flickering screen is guaranteed to drive you to insanity. Of course, being a white middle class family, we didn’t go the normal route of getting a guy in to fix it; no, we just bought another giant TV. But the point remains: digital television is like a hooker. Sure, maybe she’ll be more ‘technically astute’ than your ex-girlfriend, but there’s something missing from the experience.
Television isn’t the only thing that elicits a scream from me in our house. The dishwasher seems to be one of the most annoying innovations in kitchen appliance history. It takes just as long to fill and empty it as it does to wash the dishes, you still have to rinse them off first, and when it comes time to take them out, they’ve approached the temperature of the earth’s core. In addition, we’ve been through two dishwashers in ten years, despite regular maintenance and replacing of broken parts. Right now, our current one has a crack in its door. How the hell does this even happen? It washed the dishes too furiously, and paid the price for it?
I could go on about technological ‘advancements’ for much, much longer, but I don’t want to give you the impression that I’m a whiner.