Post originally featured on Dot Complicated – by Randi Zuckerberg
Last week while on a trip home from the grocery store, I hit a curb and blew a tire. Upon pulling over, I immediately felt panic starting to set in. Not only did I have two small kids with me, but also hundreds of dollars worth of groceries in my trunk that needed refrigeration.
After running through “what to do next” strategies in my head, it suddenly occurred to me: Wait! I can just press the call button on my rearview mirror and roadside assistance will be here in no time. Next, I accessed the Über App on my iPhone to call a cab and had him take my kids, my husband and the groceries home. Fifteen minutes later a nice gentleman showed up, changed my tire and sent me on my way.
Fifteen years ago this situation would’ve played out very differently. In fact, during my teenaged years I had a blow out on an Interstate Highway on my way to my summer lifeguard job. This, of course, was before cell phones were readily available or affordable, so my plan of action was somewhat different. After I pulled over, I had to walk, over a mile, to the next exit wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and some shorts! True story. I was humiliated to say the least. Once I got to the exit, I then begged a vendor at a flea market to use his phone. He watched me closely as each minute used was very costly back then. Luckily, my brother answered our landline phone and told me he would come help. I gave the vendor $5 and hitched a ride with an elderly couple, who I made promise they wouldn’t kidnap me, back to my car. Several hours later I arrived at work and was greeted by a very angry boss. As a mom now, this story makes me cringe at all the things that could’ve happened to me.
Each day, I read countless articles about how technology is ruining our youth, creating an “I want every thing yesterday” mentality, taking away from real human connections, and making life more difficult. However, I find these accusations to be the furthest from the truth. I believe technology has given us hope with medical advancements, it’s provided opportunities for businesses to grow exponentially, it’s connected us to long lost relatives, friends and strangers, but most importantly it’s given us back time. The last thing I want to do is waste hours of my day on life’s little inconveniences, like flat tires, when I’d much rather be spending that time with my family.
I feel my kids’ generation is quite lucky to be growing up in this age of technological advancement. I love that they’ll never know what it’s like to dial a number on a rotary phone, or have to wait up all night just to record their favorite song off the radio – only to have several seconds of it ruined by a DJ talking. They won’t have to drive to a store to rent a movie and then worry about racking up hundreds of dollars of late fees. They won’t have to carry their entire music collection around in a big heavy case so they can listen to one song at a time on their Walkman’s. They’ll never get lost because everyone has a GPS on their phone. Finally, they’ll have all the knowledge in the world available at their fingertips, rather then spending hours in a library searching through card catalogs or having to utilize the Dewy Decimal System.
I, for one, chose to embrace change and advancement, and take solace in knowing my kids will never have to walk down a highway to get help – in their bathing suits.