Getting Lost and Getting #RAD

Climbing this tree really was crazy... but no this is not THE crazy tree

Ladies and Gents, the countdown is on.

Five days from now I will be running my first half-marathon. I am terrified and excited. A common theme thus far in fourth year.

For those of you wondering how the 70’s time warp went Sunday:

We went in 2013...

We went in 2013…

...came out 1973.

…came out 1973.

It was totally… #RAD?… Is it cheating to use their own advertising hashtag to describe the experience? Because it was awesome. It ended up only being about four and a half kilometers including my running back occasionally to hustle the not-so-fit-gym-rat along. Hardly a distance to brag about. But it still held the magic of the pre-race excitement. The thrill of the countdown. The neat line of port-a-potties. The “hype crowd” as I call them – a.k.a. the event team in charge of building the energy. The congestion at the start line that is perhaps the only part of races I hate. It was exciting. My boyfriend laughed at me wiggling with joy, but we talked about that last week.

Everything I love and hate about races, captured in one neat photo... and one photobomb...

Everything I love and hate about races, captured in one neat photo… and one photobomb…

He wasn’t laughing for long as we took off running, but he was a champ. Even if he didn’t roll through the last colour station. I figured I would just throw myself in 120% into the experience of the event. Which is also why I look like I came out from the 70’s and he looks like he barely could pass for late 80’s.

I must admit though that this decision seemed less intelligent when I got back to my car and realized I was covered in coloured cornstarch from my hair to my toes. Which while awesome, wasn’t really what I had in mind for my upholstery.

It was a busy weekend though, after coming back for a quick shower, it was off to the apple orchard. Which can you believe I have lived in the heart of farm and cottage country my entire life and never gone apple picking?! Crazy I know.

We took at trip over to Mountain Orchards, so I could show him what a REAL village looked like. You know one of those mostly dirt road places, where a 3 acre lot is considered small, and everyone shops at the same grocery store because it is the ONLY grocery store, but that can sometimes surprise you and turn out to have THE BEST restaurants? (Small aside – if you ever find yourself in the Port Severn Area, make a trip over to The Dam Grill, absolutely amazing food, and great service, but don’t take my word for it!). I’m hoping that now that he’s seen a real village he’ll stop telling me I live in a village. Not likely but a girl can dream.

With school starting back up, readings piling up, and the demands of daily living knocking at my door, it has gotten stressful fast. So it was really nice to literally get away from it all and just enjoy family.

Climbing this tree really was crazy... but no this is not THE crazy tree

Climbing this tree really was crazy… but no this is not THE crazy tree

Fortunately for me my darling brother has a strong arm but not the greatest aim...

Fortunately for me my darling brother has a strong arm but not the greatest aim…

Even if that family lures you into climbing a tree so they can pelt apples at you when you get stuck. I wish I was kidding. But my family’s a little crazy and it was all in good fun. So after loading up the wagon with apples and our bellies with apple cider donuts, Aaraf and I loaded the car up to head back to Ottawa. Only problem? I had nearly killed my phone taking so many pictures, and I was on my last bit of data for the month after being a little too liberal with my browsing on the bus this week. And the city slicker’s phone apparently rejects the villages as much as he does, because he had no service. Looks like all Roger’s clever ads about having faster and more reliable service are only city applicable.

At this point we were in a predicament of sorts – how on earth do we get home? My brother had gotten us lost going there (but thankfully his “manly sense of direction” got us there anyways) and I didn’t want to fully retrace our original route. I fortunately inherited my father’s sense of direction, (an upgraded version, double thankfulness) so while Aaraf attempted to get a data connection, I started to drive. And miracle of miracles my spatial memory and ability to orient myself got us home without any mishaps.

But driving home a thought struck me – what did we do before GPS?

Of course I remember using the actual GPS rather than my superphone, but I could barely remember what came before that. After half a second I remembered that I used to look up directions on my laptop and print them off before leaving, but as Aaraf pointed out – that really didn’t help you if you got lost. When I really thought about it, the internet has really only been around since the mid 90’s (Yes, before someone goes all Sheldon Cooper on me, I know it was actually invented technically in 1958, but the World Wide Web as we know it was not minted until 1993). I had to think long and hard, but then I vaguely remembered as a kid, my dad tracing lines on huge maps to determine the route. Now if I want to know how to get somewhere I simply ask Google:

“Google, directions home” to which she (Google clearly thought through their gender stereotypes on this one) replies, “Getting directions” and pulls up navigation. I can change the mode of transportation, and plan out bus trips according to when I want to leave, when I want to get there, or when the last time I CAN go there is.

In my everyday life my technology has become my best friend.

Before I go to bed: “Google, set alarm for 8am.”

When I wake up: I check my notifications, and then “Google, What is the weather?” Never mind just sticking my head out the window.

If I am driving: “Google, text my boyfriend – I am on my way!”

If I am worried I will forget something: “Google remind me to buy flowers when I get to Loblaws” or “Remind me to water the plants every morning”

If I don’t know the answer to something: “Google, what is snow?” (If you own an Android device with Google Now, ask it that, it’s worth the laugh)

And it’s not just my addiction to Google. I almost compulsively check my social media and email, half the time without even realizing I’m doing it. It is a habit. The very definition of automaticity.

I carry my iPod everywhere, I don’t really like running without it, and I have heard of people leaving the gym once they realized they didn’t have their music player.

I have a Garmin watch that I wear when I go for a run. Not having it pretty much ruins my run. I can’t keep a steady pace, and though I have a phone app to track my mileage in the event of a Garmin failure, I spend half the run angry that I don’t have my Garmin. Legit, I left my charger cable in Barrie after my last visit. When my Garmin was almost dead and I realized I didn’t have my charger, I called my father begging him to please ship it express post the next day. I still had to wait until Monday since it was shipped out Friday. But my day was made when the cable came in Monday morning and I plugged it in. This is the sad point my life is at right now.

I mourn my technology when it dies.

And the funny thing is that I was born before most of this was out, or at least before it became so advanced and widespread. I remember at 2 years old, having figured out MDOS was a remarkable accomplishment. That was the most advanced thing we owned in the house. We had one computer that was hardly used, and it wasn’t until I was in Grade 4 that I started using computers for homework. If you wanted to pay a bill you went to the bank. We drew directions on a map and set alarm clocks using our hands, trying to push and hold one button while clicking another, this was serious effort by today’s standards.

And yet, by my grandparents’ standards this was easy. They used the wind up clocks. You know, the retro ones we use now for decoration? And I will never forget the time I was playing at my friend Kellen’s house and like most kids, I didn’t want to go home for dinner, so his parents said I could stay but I had to ask my parents first. Technology was enough of a thing that it apparently wasn’t worth running across the court, calling was more sensible (yeah I can’t explain my laziness). And I sat down in front of their rotary phone and had no idea what to do with it. So I ran anyways. When I got to my home and asked, very out of breath, if I could stay at Kellen’s for dinner, my parents gave me a quizzical look and said of course, but asked why I didn’t just call? At which point I explained that their phone “didn’t work.” I have since figured out rotary phones, though morse code, and telegrams will always be a mystery to me.

I take a lot for granted in this massively advancing era of technology, I honestly barely remember a time before many of the technologies that I use on a daily basis. A lot of them aren’t even that old, most of them invented in my lifetime, or at least made commonplace during my lifetime, but I still just act like they’ve always been around.

Studying for the GRE this summer I stumbled across a sample question for the Analyze an Issue task, that argued that the increase in technology is making us dumber. Yes it was more eloquently stated, but you get the point. And I can see both sides, there are many things, I thankfully have learned, but that my friends never learned how to do. I can see how we may lose the ability to think as we pass off the torch to our technology. I prefer to think of it as we are freeing up our minds for more important things, no longer wasting our time with such mundane things as setting an alarm by hand. And in truth, technology has extended our lifespan, allowed for improved medicine, expedited social communications to an instantaneous level, and created a knowledge explosion with a wealth of information at our finger tips. Anything you could possibly want to know these days is on the internet. When writing papers I don’t have to go to the library (though I had a first year English professor that insisted we source at least 3 actual books), I do the research from home, able to instantly access pretty much any article I want, on any topic imaginable.

We also talked in my family psychology class about the idea of technology making our lives easier though and came to the conclusion that, yes it makes the work easier, but it also makes more work. There are probably a lot more chores that we do now, a) because we have the time to, b) because cleanliness standards have risen, and c) the technology creates work due to the maintenance it requires.

My grandparents grumble about the technology, occasionally calling me to tell me their computer isn’t working because they didn’t push the power button. They complain about my cell phone, and see no point in my tablets. My mom has me set up her phone and frequently tells me that I have to do her iPod for her. So maybe we are a generation that is missing out on some basic skills, but arguably with all this advancement, so is the last generation. Technology has created a brand new skill set for today’s youth to master. I will admit that since social media has taken off language has really gone for a nose dive, but you could argue it’s been declining since the 1400’s, or perhaps it peaked somewhere during the last generation, as I am sure each generation argues.

While Google can answer most of my questions, she still refuses to tell me whether or not I am clinically addicted to my technology. And when I asked her which generation was the best, I got this:

Pokémon. That's what matters in life folks.

Pokémon. That’s what matters in life folks.

Apparently that’s what matters in life. Though I got a slightly more positive answer when I asked it what mattered in life. Though several quote pages really wasn’t what I was looking for.

So tell me – am I the only one or do you have a gadget you can’t live without? Can you imagine a time without the internet? Does that give you the same uneasy feeling I get?

Now it’s off to ask Google what to do with the plethora of apples I forgot would be a by-product of going to an apple orchard.



1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Running, Eating, and Dog Tags | climbing the crazy tree

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