My niece Tina has blogged about how grateful she is for her new dishwasher (http://livingcerebralpalsy.com/). Tina gets around in a wheelchair, so hand-washing dishes at a standard height sink was a difficult and sloppy job. But that was what she had had to do for quite some time. Reading Tina's blog started me thinking about all the changes and progress that has occurred over the last hundred years or so in all things mechanical and digital.
It made me think about how the world worked in my grandparents' youth, in my parents' youth, and throughout my own life. As technology moved from horse and buggy days, to railroads, to aviation, to the space age, and from hand-copied or hand-set-type printed materials to the vast possibilities in computer-prepared printed materials, new skill sets had to be developed. As these new skills were developed, old skills became outmoded and lost.
One of the things that the currently popular post-apocalyptic literature deals with is how people learn to cope and survive when the technology they are accustomed to no longer works and they do not know how to do things without it.
In just the 70 years of my life things have changed dramatically. The first car I remember my parents having was a little old Ford with a rumble seat. It had to be cranked to start the motor! (If you don't know about rumble seats and cranking, look it up!) Today's automobiles are highly computerized. Some talk to you; some can even automatically parallel park for you. I, for one, am really glad not to have to crank my car every time I want to go somewhere!
Today, I might think, with a sigh, that it's laundry day. Then I move my laundry basket from the closet, where it is kept out of sight, approximately 15 feet to the compact laundry closet containing my stacked set of washer and dryer. Turn on the water, pour in the detergent, toss in a load of clothes, shut the lid and let the machine work. Take out the damp laundry, move it up into the dryer, turn it on and walk away until it beeps to let me know it is time to take out the clean, dry laundry. Oh, my, such hard labor!
This is growing too long. I may continue following this line of thought another day.