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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing

There's only so much new technology a brain can absorb
before it begins to overflow.
So we're at a dinner party the other night, and our hostess whips out this little gizmo and when she plays a tune on her smartphone, it broadcasts out of the gizmo, like a remote speaker.  I also learn that Pandora, which I thought was cutting edge, is actually somewhat old hat.  The new thing, or at least new to me, is spotify.  I had seen the word before on facebook, but wasn't sure what it meant or why I should give a damn.

All of which leads me to my grand theory, that there's just so much technology a human brain can absorb before it begins to overflow.  For a demonstration of this, take a one-cup measuring cup and pour in two-and-a-half cups of milk.  See the principle?  Now get a mop.

Suppose, like my grandmother, you were born in Montana when people still traveled in covered wagons.  With steam engines, you'll be perfectly conversant, even though there aren't any steam engines where you live, because, hey, it's Montana.  When the internal combustion engine comes along, you'll be ready for that one, too, because basically this is just a fancier kind of steam engine, right?  You'll chuckle at the older generation for referring to them as "horseless carriages," because they're so old-fashioned.  The word is car.  (Of course, when you get your first refrigerator, you'll still call it an "icebox.")  But when men go to the moon, you'll never really get your brain around it.  They'll tell you it happened, and show you the pictures, and you'll nod and smile, but it will always be something unreal to you, like something in a book.

This is how it is for me.  CDs I got because basically a CD was just a vinyl record only made out of plastic and aluminum.  Even iPods I get because basically an iPod is just a glorified walkman, right?  (For those of you who don't remember walkmans, ask your grandparents; they've probably still got one in a bottom drawer with their old fanny-packs.)  But now we're in an era when things are changing so quickly and in so many directions at once, I can't wrap my head around it.  We're going to the moon, and I still have a covered-wagon mind.

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