When I was 6 years old, every Wednesday we used to go on a sweetie walk. It was supposed to be a "nature" walk, but as we were allowed to bring 6d with us to buy sweeties on our return, we all knew that really it was the sweetie walk. In fact, the only time that we ever remotely got close to learning about nature was when one girl, named Jennifer, decided to eat some "peas" growing on a tree. So enthusiastic was she, that she was trying to get all of us to join in with her new found love of vegetables. Being 6 year olds we all preferred to keep our appetite for our 6d's worth of sweets. Fortunate for us, and unfortunate for her, as later she was rushed into hospital to have her stomach pumped and the contents of the laburnam pods removed! Next day the teacher, absolving herself of all responsiblity of course, gave us a long lecture about not eating from the bushes and the danger that could be caused by doing such!! This could perhaps explain my subsequent lifelong addiction to chocolate. Far safer clearly...........
Anyway the point of this particular ramble is that it was a REAL sweetie shop. Do you remember the sort? Old fashioned jars filled with sweets and most importantly a real person serving those sweets. The lady in question probably had no idea that she would have a lasting impression on my life, and that age 44, I would reminisce of the good old days...
Today though I had another technological scare. Now don't get me wrong, I do actually consider myself to be reasonably computer literate and quite able to use technology when needed, but, and this is a big BUT, it's just that I prefer dealing with people. So, when after my radio show today (accompanied by my six and eight year old little broadcast assistants who are on half term), I went into my local supermarket to buy a few bits for lunch, I was slightly stunned to find that instead of a friendly checkout person, I was confronted by a computer, a scanner and a disembodied voice giving me instructions. It seemed to know which items I had put through the scanner, which ones needed packing and even which ones I was waving in the air wondering where the bar code was. When I had finished scanning everything I then had to make decisions. What type of card was I paying with, which side down to put the chip and how much cashback I needed the disembodied voice to throw back at me. I had intended to pay by cash, there only being a few bits in my basket, but the disembodied voice seemed a bit impatient with me, so it was easier to increase my overdraft a little more than to risk offending her. As I completed my transaction I commented to the lady next to me that I was glad that I didn't have a full weekly shop, and that I preferred human contact. She agreed with me, just as the disembodied voice got a little upset once more because my shopping was still on the counter.
Now, I can't help thinking that sooner or later all these things will come to an end. My one sin in life is that I watch Neighbours on a daily basis. It's my chill out time for 25 minutes a day. And if any of you have ever watched a soap on a regular basis you too will know that feeling that the storyline goes so far, goes a little further to the point of the ridiculous, and then eventually the scriptwriters realise that this is a nonsense, and it stops.
Perhaps, in the same way, our techno era will similarly come to an end. The Ice Age came to an end, the Bronze Age came to an end, The Roman Empire came to an end, and even the abolutely ridiculous Cam and Rob Robinson storyline came to an end. I just can't wait therefore for the day when all the unwanted machines in our lives will take the hint and leave our planet for good. (I would of course like to keep some of them, my computer and my car for instance). We could just do with disposing of all machines to do with monetary transactions please, and then we could be really radical and replace all cyber controlled shops with good old fashioned people
- which, let's face it, most of us actually prefer to CHIPS!!
6 months ago