Parallel Parking Our Future

I just saw a television commercial for a self-parking car. I don’t know, folks, but it seems that if you just had one of these, you could add an automatic flushing toilet and a pre-mixed Smirnoff canned drink and Friday night would pretty much plan itself. If they could figure out how to apply the technology that lights those handheld neon glow sticks to heat up SuperAmerica bean burritos (Just snap and shake!), you’d have the complete date night.
When my family got its first microwave oven in 1979, I saw our brave new world as a hopeful place best typified by the vision of the tiny, expanding pillow of popcorn through a frosted glass window. But now, I am fearful of our future. Things are moving too fast. We haven’t evolved enough to deal effectively with all of these time-saving devices.
I don’t really have an issue with the self-flushing toilet. But it is not truly a time-saving device. (A combination self-activating bidet and toilet flusher would be a time-saving device, perhaps.) I’m all in favor of never ever again entering a public restroom and finding out the horrid answer to “What’s behind Door Number Two?” but I think we are doing ourselves a disservice when we create a civilization where we are losing, step by step, our will to perform basic hygiene. Flushing is what makes us human. We give up that responsibility at our peril.
As I cast this stone of judgment, I fully expect it to ricochet and hit me in the forehead. More than once, my husband has had to caution me that the Roomba will not work as a lint remover. It is a well-known fact that I once threw away an entire sinkful of dirty dishes rather than wash them. Although, in my defense, I can say the dishes weren’t mine. They were Bill’s. He was my roommate, and I was tired of cleaning up after him. In place of the discarded place settings, I got Bill a single dish shaped like a pie plate. I figured he could use it for both of his basic food groups: cereal and pizza. I was even thoughtful enough to have “Bill” inscribed on it so he could tell it apart from Tuffy’s dog dish. Shortly after that display of thoughtfulness, though, he threw me out. I’m not sure what he replaced me with, but I hope it was self-cleaning.
I have seen the future, my friends, and it isn’t pretty. We’re not soaring into a glorious new era of space travel and adventure. We’re puttering into the future on Segways, and carting our flabby butts around the mall on scooters, buckets of Mrs. Fields’ cookies in our hammy paws.
Cars are accelerating our decline. OnStar opens the door for us when we lock the keys inside. Rear-view video cameras spare us the discomfort of looking behind ourselves when we put the car in reverse. If the Global Positioning System told us to drive off a cliff, would we? Apparently so. A German motorist followed his map computer’s instructions and crashed right into a construction zone port-a-potty. (Luckily for him, it was a model without auto-flush.) We don’t need the HAL 9000 to kill us: We’ve got onboard navigation in the Benz.
So, what are we saving all this time and effort for? Quality life experiences with family and friends? Here’s my latest life-quality experience: My children don’t even get up and walk down two flights of stairs to ask me what’s for dinner anymore. They text message my cell phone.
I have “LFTOVRS” programmed into my speed dial so I don’t have to type it each time I respond. That saves me lots of time and effort every night.