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Coffee craving meets anti-techno attack

This morning, our coffeemaker blew up.

Well, it didn’t really blow up. It just backed up on itself.

We have a beautiful coffeemaker. My husband Erik and I got it for a wedding present. It’s a fancy, schmancy stainless steel Braun coffeemaker, with an electronic clock, a gold-lined filter, a variable temperature burner (to keep the java at the desired heat), and a little button on the front that self-cleans it.



This morning, we made coffee, then walked away. When we came back, there was a coffee pond on the kitchen counter, a veritable swamp of brown liquid pooled all around the steaming, burping machine.

Once we cleaned up the mess, we thought maybe we should press the self-cleaning button. But simultaneously, we both recoiled. What would happen? Where are the directions to this thing? Help.



I’m having another one of my anti-techno attacks. These episodes hit me ever so often, whenever the technology that runs willy-nilly through our lives overwhelms me. Everywhere you look there’s speedy this, and automated that. But is all this gadgetry helping us be more relaxed and efficient as it ultimately should – or is it helping us to simply stress out faster?

Take a look at the advancements in the ski industry. Partly because of technological advancements in ski lifts, skiing has become more of a very expensive endeavor than a high-spirited winter sport. I have to ask, do super-fast lifts really improve the overall skiing experience?

Ask the skiers that hike up Highland Bowl, one of the finest skiing experiences anywhere. There’s not a high-speed, lift-served run anywhere on that thing.

My husband and I both grew up in Aspen. Thirty years ago, we rode slow chairs on Aspen Skico mountains. Now those same mountains have replaced all but a few of those slow dinosaurs with high-speed, detachable lifts.

Sunlight took a couple of those archaic lifts off the Skico’s hands. Now, we ski Sunlight on those same old Aspen lifts. Aspen’s lifts may zoom-zoom, but as far as an overall skiing experience, Sunlight reminds us of when we were kids. Ski fast, ride slow and enjoy the day.

A friend of ours we grew up with outright complains about high-speed lifts. He says a fast chair doesn’t give his knees the time they need to rest between runs. Yeah, give me the old slow guys any day.

Now, we seem to want `life in the fast lane’ everywhere. I remember when fax machines first came out for general office use. It seemed like the ultimate in impatience to shoot something across the country, or the world for that matter. Why not wait? What’s the big hurry? Now faxes are almost obsolete, in the age of e-mailing.

I’m not saying all technology is unhealthy, because it’s not. I was in college right when personal computers were first being developed but not widely used. I wrote many a term paper on an electric typewriter, and I can remember typing . and re-typing . and re-typing a paper until I got it just right.

Now, I cannot imagine working at a newspaper without the use of computers. Not only do they make writing easier, but they make researching more accessible, too. And e-mail provides a way for us to communicate quickly. I’m all for that, at times.

But remember the days when there were no answering machines? If you weren’t home, you missed the call. Simple. Now, it’s almost like you can’t get away from responsibility. Did you get my e-mail? Did you get my message? There’s no escape!

And cell phones . yikes. Talk about being a slave to technology. Talk about no escape. Sometimes, we’re just not supposed to be reachable. But I have to admit sometimes – like when you’re completely stranded – a cell phone can be a good thing.

Still, if technology is king, why does it still take me the same amount of time to clean my house as it did for someone 40 years ago? Dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping . all that technology was around then. What’s happened to those advancements?

And, what’s up with turning on the TV or the radio? We’ve just added a DVD stereo sound component to our television (a friend of my husband’s just set us up with that; I guess it’s a guy thing). Now, with enough remote controls, buttons and special codes to make a NASA mission controller jealous, I am lost as to how to turn the thing on. My little Sony CD boom box usually gets more airtime than the TV/DVD/CD player does.

Times like this, when technology gets the better of me, I tend to be drawn to the simple pleasures in life. After the cleaning up the coffee this morning, ignoring the messages on the machine, and turning off my computer, I took a few carrots out to the horses and watched them munch away. I threw a ball for Jo Mama, our golden Lab. She doesn’t need a Palm Pilot-controlled Fetch Retriever IV with supersonic speed throwing to have a good time. A simple slobbery tennis ball will do.

Carrie Click is a Post Independent staff writer. Her column runs on Tuesdays.


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