I tweaked my back moving boxes yesterday, so I decided to take a hot bath to see if I could loosen it up. And since I’ve been watching Star Trek: Enterprise on Netflix on my new HTC 8X all weekend, naturally I’m deeply engrossed and there is no way that wasn’t going to continue into the bath (and for those who gasp, naturally it is in a Otterbox Defender already).
So I’m sitting in the bathtub, with the speaker pressed up to my ear to hear what is going on over the sound of the water, and I was struck in rapid order by two things. First, how utterly ridiculous I was, to be sitting in the bathtub with this miracle of technology with a high resolution screen pressed backwards to my head, so deeply engrossed in a story that I didn’t even want to pause it. And second, how it had likely happened a hundred times before, in the age of radio.
I wished, in that moment, that I had an amusing anecdote about some aged relative who used to listen to the baseball game that way, with the portable radio pressed up against his ear while doing some noisy task, desperate to hear every at-bat. But even though I don’t actually know of a relative doing it, I take some solace in this: I can be my grandkids’ anecdote. Because just as the idea of some old guy with his ear glued to an AM radio is nostalgic to us, it is almost certain that our grandchildren will find not just our technology, but also our dedication to it, hysterical. Even the idea of pressing something up to your ear is likely to be completely foreign within another 40 years.
And so on down the line. This technological and social point has been made a thousand times by a hundred different science fiction writers, but I find something comforting in the psychological sense of it: that humans, even as our technologies advance, are still able to be totally ridiculous.