Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Generation of Nincompoops Meets the GPS

The Harried Homemaker et al. hit the road!
This week we enjoyed one of the fringe benefits of homeschooling - an off-season mini vacation. Hubby Dear arranges his vacation time around family birthdays, so we were able to celebrate the anniversary of Mini Me's birth with a trip to the big city. We looked a little bit like the Beverly Hillbillies, all six of us stuffed into our burgeoning vehicle, the kids' noses glued to the window as they checked out the sights.

As I have noted before, Hubby Dear is more or less anti-prepping, though he has come to tolerate it as time goes by. He may be against preparedness, but he is firmly for technology. He's into gadgets like I'm into bulk supplies of hard winter wheat. It's remarkable we're as happily married as we are.

On this vacation, Hubby Dear decided to utilize the GPS on his Droid which, for the technophobes in the audience, is a "smartphone". He used the voice search function, selected our destination with a simple touch of the screen, and loaded the instructions. I should mention that we're well-acquainted with the particular metropolis we were visiting. But Hubby Dear loves his gadgets and enjoys watching the GPS work its magic. He practically rubbed his hands with glee.  

Hubby Dear's true love, the GPS on his Droid
"Honey, you know we should really look up the directions before we go,"  I said before we left the Harried Homemaker Acres. After all, we were visiting a couple of attractions that were new to us.

"Why bother? We have the GPS," he answered blithely.

To cut a long story short, the GPS would have led us astray twice if we didn't already have first hand knowledge of the area. One of those miscues would have been very unfortunate and we would have likely never found our destination.

The irony in this is that I had just finished reading an article from the AP entitled "Are we raising a generation of nincompoops?". You can read the article here, but the main idea is that kids today are so used to technology that they can't do simple tasks like use a manual can opener. Back in my public school teacher days, I was always surprised at how difficult my high school students found reading maps. What do they teach kids these days? Apparently not map skills. Why bother? You have the GPS!

Technology is great. I may not be as into gadgets and gizmos as Hubby Dear, but I do enjoy sitting in my air-conditioned house, sipping an ice-cold Coke Zero and munching a cookie baked in one of my dual electric ovens. I also like writing this blog on my computer while listening to music on my iPod. The problem is that we have chosen to cripple ourselves by an over-dependence on technology.  If that technology is all of a sudden gone, we could very likely find ourselves as lost as that GPS would have led us.

I don't know that TEOTWAWKI will ever happen in my lifetime. What I do know is that my family is very vulnerable should something of a SHTF nature occur. Do I have the knowledge, skills and means to keep us warm in the winter? How about feeding my children without easy access to a fully-stocked grocery store? Could we grow all we needed to eat and then preserve the surplus? What about medicine? Clothing? Everything else that is essential to life?

Heavy questions indeed.

1 comment:

  1. I find it so alarming to look around my life and realize how dependent we are on technology. One of my upcoming goals is to have periodic electricity-free days with the family so we can see how we would cope if a situation were to arise.

    One time last summer I was visiting my DH's hometown and decided to take all the cousins out for an adventure. Although I have visited for years, I never paid attention to where we were going since I always had a native with me. Imagine my *horror* when the GPS died with NO warning as we were cruising along the highway! Needless to say, we had to completely abandon our mission as I attempted to re-orient myself.