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Technology: Love It and Hate It

Technology makes life simpler by one definition:  methods, systems, and devices which are the result of scientific knowledge being used for practical purposes in industry and our everyday day lives.  Technology certainly proved practical when Husband, our 15-year-old Grand, Elsie, and I set off on a five-day trip. 

Holding my iPhone in hand, I said, “Hey, Siri. Get directions to Sandusky, Ohio.”  Seconds later, Google Maps showed three possible routes on my phone screen. We chose one showing 486 miles and 7 hours 35 minutes.  Because I wanted to follow our route on paper and I like to know the names of towns we travel through, I kept my Rand-McNally atlas close by as we followed a blue line and spoken directions from my phone.   

I appreciated detailed directions. “In ¼ mile, use the right two lanes. Turn left onto Interstate Highway 77.” As Google Map’s back-up navigator for Husband while he drove, I sometimes repeated directions, watched for highway and street signs, and looked up the name of the next town.

When we arrived at our destination, I praised technology.  We didn’t make a single wrong turn, although driving time was extended an hour due to road construction, and along the way Google Map had located and directed us to the nearest Chick-Fil-A.

As we travelled, we used technology in other ways.  Texts, emails and phone calls kept us connected with friends and family.  I played word games, and our Grand listened to audio books.

            The next day I encountered my bane of technology.  At a Cedar Point Amusement Park information booth, I asked for a park map.  “You can scan one,” said the park employee.  She pointed to a QR code, a black and white square, and immediately looked towards another park visitor.

Quick Response codes have been described as barcodes on steroids; they hold information horizontally and vertically.  Was I expected to see everything at Cedar Point, a 364-acre park, on my 3” x 6” phone screen?  Never understanding the park’s layout, I floundered for the next few hours and followed Elsie from ride to ride.

Finally, we saw the main information center so I again asked for a paper map.  The employee said, “You can scan one,” and pointed to a QR code. I gave her my best grandmother smile and said, “I’ve been frustrated all morning.”

She nodded and ducked below the counter.  “Here you go. This should help.”  I triumphantly waved my paper map toward Husband and Elsie.

At suppertime, a hostess guided us to a restaurant booth and pointed to the tabletop.  “Your waiter will be right with you. You can scan our menu here,” she said. Another QR code.

As we looked at phone screens, the waiter must have sensed my frustration because she asked, “Would you like paper menus?”  Most times I think I’m moving along well (for my age, some would say) in this technology world, but I hope all the world’s information doesn’t get packed into black and white squares.

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