The Pitfalls of Convenience

Growing up in the 1970’s the world was a complicated place to a teenager. Fast forward almost fifty years and 2020 by comparison looks extremely complicated. Mankind has created devices of convenience to save us time, money and work but we live in a stressed filled society. I want to take a quick look at some of the conveniences and uncover their pitfalls. This obviously will be my last post of 2020. I want to wish everyone a blessed New Year.

Oxford Dictionary defines convenience as: the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty. That is the utopian reason behind making items of convenience. Let’s look at the convenience of the modern day car. I am a big fan of air conditioning and power windows in a car. Drive a car in Florida on a summer day, you will quickly appreciate air conditioning. If you need the passenger window rolled down, again, instant gratitude for power windows. This is the tip of the ice berg with today’s cars. I have read technical manuals for setting up Computer networks less lengthy than the new car manuals. I think we are inventing things to add on a car in the name of convenience. These items of convenience come with an increased cost, whether you want them or not. The learning curve for these services are steep in some cases. Indicator lights, sounds beeping at you, and sometimes voice alerts (that often startle me). Lane avoidance, breaking too hard, cruise controls that say you are too close to another car, Lord have mercy, I just wanted to go too Walmart to pick up a few things. I can no longer work on the electrical systems of my car, so I have to pay a mechanic 5 times the reasonable rate to fix a system I didn’t even want. I think you get my point, you pay with time, money and frustration sometimes for these items of “convenience”.

The remote control. First, the only thing I misplace more than my television remote is my cell phone. The remote control learned to play hide-and-seek at a very early stage in its development, and it plays at expert level. I now have a smart watch that I ping my cell phone with to determine its location, I believe it is hanging out with my television remote control. Then there are the plethora of apps you have on that cell phone. These were items of convenience at one time, now most want to charge you a recurring fee for the functions the app was actually created to do? So, now I have apps to tell me where my remote control is, the app can also serve as a remote control, but I pay for the convenience of all of these when I used to get my lethargic self up and just change the channel or adjust the sound. I watch too much television, I look at the screen on my cell phone more than I should, oh, and the cell phone gives me a report once a week to advise me of my poor use of time. I won’t even go into wireless networks, Alexa controlling my lights so again, I am relieved of getting out of my chair to turn on a light. All this for convenience but wait, I now have an app that reminds me to stand up, because of course I sit far too much these days. Are you kidding me!! The travesty is I am paying for all this and using very valuable time to learn how these systems interact with each other.

Finally, we have people taking digital sabbaticals from their devices. I often hear people talk about how refreshing the removal of technology was for their week without “conveniences”. We should take caution with the new conveniences technology is bringing. Remember, “With everything given, something is lost”. We think in terms of win-win but does that really exist in a pure state? Conveniences are what Oxford said: “the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty”. In 2021 maybe a simpler life is the prescription for society. I am not saying give up your conveniences, just examine them, determine if they really are a convenience or another obligation for your already busy day. I pray each of you are in good health and remain that way through the pandemic. I also pray God will richly bless you with abundance of life in 2021, he is the only one that can. I will be posting this several places, just for your convenience.

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