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Quiet Desperation

Avoiding convenience is more convenient than convenience


Alexa, don’t peel me a grape.”

It has taken a while — my entire life — to figure something out. What I want and what I need are just about the same thing.

There are new technologies that I neither want nor need.

I don’t want Alexa.

I don’t want Tesla.

I don’t want a camera in my car or a camera in my refrigerator (Samsung makes one).

I don’t want to be able to turn my house lights on and off from a restaurant.

At what point is enough — enough? Whatever it is, I think I am there.

I don’t have a mobile device. Never have, and never will, and I seem to be subsisting.

That was the last piece of my technology puzzle, and I solved it years ago. Don’t want one, don’t need one.

I do own and operate many of the usual suspects: a television with a remote, a garage door opener, and a dishwasher.

I am able to send a column like this to my editor without seeing my editor. Clark Kent couldn’t do that, and neither could Walter Winchell.

I can book flights at home, and ask not to be seated next to crying babies.

It used to take me half a day to make a tape of my favorite songs. Now I can create a CD with a few finger touches.

I can “watch now” films and other programs that are upcoming.

I have something called a “microwave” in the kitchen. I use it primarily to heat up my coffee. It does a splendid job.

I don’t want a Rolex. I don’t want a Timex. I haven’t worn a watch in 30 years, and I am never late.

I don’t want a girlfriend who wants a Hermes bag.

I have something called “Amazon Prime.” I can shop at home, and miss out on traffic, parking and rabble. Mall rabble, like nothing else, gets to a curmudgeon in amounts that exceed the recommended maximum daily intake of human interaction by, oh, 100 percent.

It means, however, that I miss out on running into someone I haven’t seen in 25 years, who wants to talk about her granddaughter. Who is special.

There are things that do things that I didn’t even know needed to be done.

Automobile manufacturers keep coming up with stuff, but they haven’t been able to come up with better drivers.

There is no new technology to abate rudeness either.

When they develop a product that allows me to impose my will on others like Elizabeth Montgomery could, sign me up. All she had to do was twitch her upturned nose (“Bewitched,” 1964-72), and either Dick York or Dick Sargent would turn into a lizard.

I would like to turn a few bad drivers into lizards (after they parked, of course).

I looked at the new gadgets that are already being promoted for — hold on to your cringle — Christmas.

Snapchat is not new, but Snapchat Spectacles are. I need Snapchat like I need someone to remind what Tuesday Weld’s first name is.

I juried a national personal robotic art exhibition in 1980, and was asked at the time what I wanted a robot to do for me someday.

I said, “Nothing.”

It’s still true.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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