As I was getting ready to take my loyal Catahoula-Plotthound out for her evening constitutional; I was debating just how many layers of clothing to don. Winter has descended upon Colorado Springs and the nights have become quite frosty.
My mind wandered as I selected a sweatshirt to be worn under a winter jacket. So, if I went back into time to prevent the murder of a distant relative, and then that relative was in a fatal car accident with my father; would that mean that I would not be here? If I did not go back in time; then my father would not die and I would be here. So surely, I did not go back into time; or did I? My head was hurting and the consequences of time travel and event tampering are the topic of another blog for yet another day!
Going down the steps, something possessed me into checking the weather on my smart phone. With a few quick taps, I was informed that the temperature was 33 degrees and the “Feel-Like Temperature” was 22 degrees. Definitely a reason to put coats on both my canine companion Xena and myself!
Seeing our breath clouding in front of us; Xena and I made quick work of our early morning walk. My mind wandered the way it always does. In the olden days, we paid attention to the temperature when it came to making plans. Then some meteorologist decided that the wind played into the relative temperature we experienced. Now, some rocket scientist decided that humidity had to also play into the relative temperature; therefore, the christening of “Feel-Like-Temperature!”
Wiping the frost off both my mustache, as well as Xena’s lady-dog mustache; I let her into the car and jumped into the front seat. By the way, please ignore the last comment about Xena’s lady mustache; she can get a little touchy about it all! Feeling the warmth of the heater wrapping its arms around me; my mind reeled anew.
Why stop at altering the thermometer-based temperature by just factoring in wind speed and humidity? If we added in barometric pressure, then we could have a “Truly-Feels-Like-Temperature.” Then we could really muck up the works by applying the ozone percentage at the moment. Voila! We would not have a “Genuinely-Feels-Like-Temperature!” Let’s not even think about latitude, elevation, and moon phase as factors to complicate temperature even further!
It would appear that we are not happy as a species unless we can find ways to make things more complex. We also relish the need for more instantaneous information readily available at our fingertips. Let’s look at the fine art of writing; a topic near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons!
We began by applying sharp instrument to stone. That was then refined by parchment and quill. Soon we had entire offices filled with secretaries hammering away at typewriters! If that were not efficient enough; we quickly evolved to electric typewriters which soon yielded to word processors. I was relatively certain that it would all end with the personal computer, but I now eat my words in the face of laptops, notebooks, pads, and smartphones! Even if we went back to my comfort zone of paper; we evolved from daisy wheel to dot matrix to line printer to ink jet to laser jet printers!
Even the way that we share the “written” word has evolved; cowering to efficiency and timeliness! Notes, hand carried by messengers, were replaced by letters and the mail system. We decided that we needed additional speed so we brought in the fax machine and overnight couriers. Ever seeking faster and better, we innovated email and the concept of an attachment. I suspect it will not be long before I can telepathically send each of you my latest blog post too!
The way that we communicate, the tools we use, and the delivery vehicles; they have all been complicated to a point beyond reason. I have to say that I miss handwriting a note and getting a paper cut on my tongue from licking an envelope. I yearn for the day when I could go to the post office, buy a stamp, and drop my correspondence into a slot labeled “Out of Town Mail.” Not to worry, the next sentence of this essay will not begin with “when I was your age!”
The complexity to be found in all aspects of our lives transcends reason. We are not happy unless we can invoke additional precision, technology, efficiency, and speed to everything we do. It is little wonder that we have spawned a generation that has no sense of patience. It should not surprise us that people camp out in line for the latest version of a smart phone! If things are more complex; somehow, some way, they must be better!
There are a few of us left who enjoy running contrary to the rest of society. Case in point; tomorrow I will take Xena for another walk. I will not turn to my smartphone to give me the “Really-Truly-Genuinely-Feels-Like-Temperature. My faithful hound and I will step out onto the deck. We will decide if it is cold, cool, warm, or hot. We will then dress accordingly. It truly is that simple!