Although its the start of 2011, in my household its almost like the beginning of 1990 as far as technology is concerned. With a strange coincidence that in fiction would be considered bad writing, all our household appliances and gadgets seem to have given up their ghosts simultaneously. My mobile battery is dying, and my mom's charger has gone kaput, which means effectively we are back to that delicious time when you did not have to remember to switch off your phone everytime you entered a movie theater or a meeting, or face the ignominy of glaring faces whilst your cell bleats a decidedly uncool tone.
With a touch of irony, one of our two landlines are also dead, which means our connection to the world is hanging on by a thread. A fiber-optic thread. As if this were not enough, our TV keeps switching off in the middle of a program, and even when it manages to remain on, the display flickers and crackles, reminding one of those old black-and-white TVs that barely transmitted legible images. Additionally, my mom's laptop screen needs replacing, and until then, she is using my old laptop, which is a nightmare to type on as the cursor skips around the screen like a bunny on drugs.
Whilst these gadgets can be fixed or new ones bought, I started thinking about all the different technologies and gadgets that need upkeep - mobiles, blackberrys, laptops, netbooks, mp3 players, the list is long. Between my parents and me, we have 5 laptops, one PC, two MP3 players, 5 mobiles and 4 TVs. Whilst this may seem either acquisitive or decadent to others, most of these gadgets support ones that work partially or not too well, but can't be replaced for whatever reason. Most of us nowadays have work phones and personal phones, laptops for home and office, multiple music systems and TVs in different rooms. Whilst they are great for making life easier, or at any rate give the semblance of doing so, when they breakdown we often feel surprised, as if the machine has betrayed us by refusing to cooperate. I cannot imagine a return to the past without these technologies, but over-reliance on them might be just as counterproductive.