PHOTO BY MARÍA CAMP

Appreciate advances in technology

Technological advances, big and small, are happening all the time. From my own experience, though I grew up with computers from a certain point, they are leaps and bounds ahead now from those much earlier days.

I love the options improved technology provides us, and while some say they yearn for simpler times, I think it’s important to realize technology advances are tools. Tools provide us options, and as with many things, they aren’t inherently good or bad; it’s all a matter of how and to what degree you use them.

I remember when my family got our first computer and printer. I was ten. The computer was an “IBM clone” as Dad called it, and the printer was an Epson, a dot matrix, which had to print line by line. It was slow by modern standards, noisy and the print wasn’t that dark.

The pages came out all connected. I still kind of miss tearing the pages apart and folding the sides over on the edges and tearing them off after a print job finished.

Undeniably, desk jet/inket and laser printers provide much crisper, more desirable results, but I’m kind of glad to have had that experience so I can more fully appreciate what we have now.

This past week, my dad and I made a stop at a gas station we like in Dodge City on our way home from Birmingham.

It’s big, with food and souvenirs galore. It’s fun just to walk around and take it all in, maybe have a snack, but what caught my attention in particular on this occasion was discovering a large vending machine with pharmacy items in it. I had never seen one like it before.

It’s nice to have options, and while this may not sound like much to some people, discovering things like this along the way bring me joy. It’s fun to see what “the future” has brought us, and while we still don’t have flying cars (yet), at least not for the general populace, these less Earth-shattering advances are also exciting.

When I was on a trip with a group in college, we stopped at a rest stop with a vending machine that dispensed T-shirts in a plastic tube. I found that pretty entertaining, too.

When I was little, I was amazed to find a pair of fold-up scissors in a different rest stop vending machine. More recently, I have found ice cream in rest stop vending machines, certainly a happy discovery when I run across it.

When I was much younger, I remember my joy at this particular rest stop where they put in a touchscreen information kiosk, and you could print the results. Later, other rest stops installed them.

People didn’t have cell phones back then, and this was pretty remarkable for the time. I still kind of miss those. 
 I’m all for enjoying the simple things, but I love the advances modern life has to offer, too. It’s all about using good judgment and not going to extremes.

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