of a technophobe
It was only yesterday that the truth dawned on
me, for I lost the war against the elevator. The 'lift' that I am
compelled to use on a daily basis is the prime reason for everything
that goes wrong.
I had entered was architecturally designed. A large glass window
looked into the elevator entrance. The architect could not have
dreamed of what a calamity this would create. It was late evening
and sunlight was creeping into the building via the glass window.
I stepped into
the lift adamant to keep relations between myself and the 'technological
marvel' peaceful. It was not to be so. The lift doors are extremely
sensitive to sunlight and refuse to close when the slightest light
creeps in the door. This was extremely helpful. I tried pushing
the doors towards each other, but to no avail. They would close
up right to the ray of light and then promptly open once again.
Another disgruntled passenger stepped in. "Okay, you take one
door and I'll take the other," he mumbled making the entire
situation seem like it was a daily occurrence. We gave it our best
shot, still no luck.
All kinds of
unhealthy thoughts rushed through my head. Who on earth invented
this piece of metal which cannot be of any use to any human being
interested in being on time for appointments? I found out.
were in use as early as the 3rd century BC, operated by human, animal
or water wheel power. (I am certain that this was a way more effective
method than using electricity.) From about the middle of the 19th
century, power elevators, often steam-operated, were used for conveying
materials in factories, mines and warehouses.
In 1853, American inventor Elisha Otis demonstrated a freight elevator
equipped with a safety device to prevent falling in case a supporting
cable should break. This increased public confidence in such devices.
Otis established a company for manufacturing elevators and patented
a steam elevator. Soon after, Sir William Armstrong introduced the
hydraulic crane and in the early 1870s, hydraulic machines began
to replace the steam-powered elevator. The hydraulic elevator is
supported by a heavy piston, moving in a cylinder and operated by
the water (or oil) pressure produced by pumps. The German inventor
Werner von Siemens built electric elevators in 1880.
surrounding elevators do not end here. Ever noticed the DANGER signs
that are hung inevitably next to the elevator door? These are quite
frightening to say the least and may lead to trying circumstances.
Being the unsuspecting mortal that I am and having to wait until
the 'marvel' turned up, I read through the instructions pertaining
to 'How to survive through an elevator crash'. When the lift finally
turned up, I was too afraid to step in.
What if the
cable broke and the lift came crashing down and got stuck between
two floors like what happened in Speed? What if there was no Keanu
Reeves who would turn up? What if my neck got stuck between the
doors and the lift proceeded up with no regard to my wellbeing whatsoever?
(That thought really hurt!) What if (and this was the worst possible
scenario) I thought I stepped into the lift yet had only stepped
into the space between the lift and solid ground.
to pass a legislation against it. For the perks of climbing the
stairs are endless. The stepper, which many mortals use in order
to lose weight in gymnasiums is a smaller and sleeker version of
a single step in a staircase. Climbing up three flights of stairs
(which I would be compelled to) in the absence of an elevator would
be of immense help in the health department.
are another source of endless quandary. You see, revolving doors
are made of glass. Therefore no one with decent eyesight is able
to decipher one door from the next. The opening to the doors is
small and therefore able to only fit in small mortals. Once one
has entered the precincts of the revolving door, it is difficult
to make an elegant exit (which I have attempted many times). I strongly
advocate the removal of all revolving doors and the addition of
strong opaque doors in its place.
But it's not
only the doors of modern technology that give us trouble. The escalator
is (I believe) one of the main reasons for beer bellies, as it hinders
the use of our god given apparatus - the legs. A carpet riding on
a bunch of wires that may shortcircuit at any time cannot be a sane
method of transportation. I have often visualised seeing my new
flat-soled shoes make its way to the darkness (which I believe)
encompasses the bottom of the escalator. Once there, the shoes suffer
in silence as the maintenance men strip the escalator apart only
once a year.
about microwaves?" ventures another technophobe. "I suffer
from the morbid fear that once I take a dish out of the microwave,
it will blow up in my face and I will suffer from a severe case
of scarring due to microwave heated food particles splashing on
my face." I agree. Whatever anyone might say, life in this
modern age is difficult to comprehend.
marvel - the computer? Someone once told me that with the entry
of the computer, more people are likely to be laid off from work.
But over 20 years into the computer age and more jobs have cropped
up due the fact that no one is able to understand the 'marvel' of
a computer. Every time I make an attempt to write a formal letter
a 'smart' paperclip turns up on the screen asking if I want assistance.
And when one answers in the negative, the paperclip merely winks
and slips to a corner of the screen waiting for the next moment
to pounce on your most minute mistake.
anything off the World Wide Web (the greatest source of information
available to all those who have a connection) is not a simple task.
Each pop-up menu is accompanied by a smiling creature that would
inquire as to whether you are truly willing to download the following
items, as there is serious doubt as to whether your 'slow' computer
will have the mental capacity (or should that be technological capacity)
to understand its contents. Then there are the numerous 'You have
performed an illegal operation, you MUST shut down the computer
and lose all unsaved information' that inevitably pops up just as
you are about to save that vital document to a floppy disk (which
is far from floppy and more like a steel card invented to ruin the
shape of your bag.)
back to yesterday's lift door - well, it refused to meet. (Wonder
if it was due to the fact that Valentine's Day had passed by and
the doors were mad at each other.) In my case - the stairs were
the only answer. And I feel healthier already.