Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Need To Do It Yourself

Between thinking about what I wrote about the deterioration of the kind of childhood I experienced, and watching a lot of car commercials about cars that essentially drive themselves (no, really, they're trying to create a car that can avoid collisions all on its own), I was thinking about the vast number of life skills that have somehow managed to become obsolete. 

There a lot of things that people just don't learn to do anymore because technology has advanced to a point that it's deemed unnecessary. In my last entry, I focused on how children no longer see any point in playing outside, or using their imaginations because they have their televisions, video games, and hand held electronics to amuse them from a very, VERY young age. 

Now we also have cars that can parallel park FOR you. I mean, come on! Who didn't have the "I HATE parallel parking!" moment as a young teen learning to drive? Well, future teens may have the option of avoiding the frustration, because their car might come equipped with that skill. Not to mention the commercials you see for the cars that "notice you drifting off the road" or "notice that the car in front of you stopped short". Somehow, I'm not convinced my the tiny, nigh-illegible fine print that reminds us that such technology is not meant to replace safe, responsible driving. 

This is something I mentioned in another entry, Things I Wish I'd Learned In School. A remarkable number of people my age don't know how to cook. They know how to boil water for ramen, or microwave a box of frozen Weight Watchers dinner, but ask them to make macaroni and cheese that was actually made from scratch and they'd probably toss a slice of Kraft cheese in the pot and call it done. This obviously doesn't go for everyone I know, I have a few friends who are really great cooks, but there's an overwhelming majority that just didn't learn. Because at this point, you can get whatever it is you want to eat either frozen, and ready to prepare, or at a fast food joint in the vicinity. 

I think one of the painfully obvious things we don't have to do anymore is develop social skills. I will willingly admit to being a victim of this. To be fair, my social anxiety was around before my cell phone and my AIM screen name, so it was probably inevitable that when given the crutch of electronic communication, I'd scoop it up with no questions asked. So now I'm an adult with telephone anxiety. Seriously. Even calling someone stresses me out. I've gotten a lot better about it simply because it's a life necessity to be able to call people, but in the age of texting, IM, and email, it was so often unnecessary that I never really became comfortable with it. And I've recently realized that, especially amid my own age group, I am hardly the only one. 

So here's the big question - since none of us are spending any time using our imaginations, or learning to drive our own cars, or cooking our own food, or developing our social skills... what the hell are we doing with all that free time? 


For all the time we're not spending acquired life skills, it doesn't seem like we have any abundance of free time to do anything else. So really, we're just skimping out on life skills so we can have more time to work. 

How fun.



  1. "There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."
    Calvin & Hobbes

  2. Great post. So many people I know don't know how to cook, how to drive a tire, or even how to tale care of a plant. It's like we don't know how to function, without a shortcut.

    And cars that park themselves? I feel like that's just asking for trouble. What's next? Cars that drive themselves?

    Loving your blog.