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Monday, September 20, 2010

All Mod Cons

I do love a good convenience.

Take, for example, the computerized voice-mail notification I get from Target regarding my pharmaceutical needs.

“Hello, this is a message from TARGET PHARMACY. Your prescription is ready for pick up.”

Oooh! Is it the script for my asthma? Is it my anxiety medication?

For someone who is not receiving enough excitement, like myself, this is big news. Which prescription is it?!

I’m going to need both prescriptions at once.

Mary reports that she gets the same satisfaction when notified that a movie she has reserved at the library is now available. “Hello, this is a message for MURRAY CAMPBELL. You have ONE item waiting at the Hennepin County Library.”

Calling her “Murray” aside, how’s that for convenient? Get on your bad motor scooter and ride, Murray! Your movie is in!

A lot of the U.S.’s economy is built around convenience. With some of the fewest national (paid) holidays on the planet, it’s only natural that we have convenience-based accommodations: drive-thru pharmacies, liquor and grocery stores that deliver, online dating sites, door-to-door massage…

OK. No door-to-door massage. Who would invite that guy in?

Wait. What does he look like?

Wait. We’ve gotten off-topic here, haven’t we?

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy most of my conveniences. They’re, um, convenient.

I get post cards from my dentist, form letters from the State, e-mail notification from my internet provider.

I get Facebook reminders. Having joined maybe a year ago, I’ve found myself making and accepting “friend” requests to and from people I haven’t seen in years. Decades. Lifetimes. It’s exhausting. There are siblings, parents, various and sundry relatives, friends, friends of friends, mothers of friends, colleagues, blog friends, and pen pals.

My list is diverse and sometimes counter-intuitive.

And since joining Facebook a year ago, I’ve wished more people “Happy Birthday” than I have in all the years preceding it.

Be honest. Outside of family and close friends, how many birthdays can you remember? Sure, you might know what month, but the date?

Now, thanks to reminders sent to me by Facebook, I can wish a “Happy Birthday” to a guy that I attended a year of elementary school with in 1970.

I’m sure there’s somewhere you can go on Facebook to turn it off, but I so rarely think of that sort of thing while there, and I just don’t feel like messing with it.

And that, right there, is the flip side of having so many conveniences: it seems I can’t be bothered to change the settings on my conveniences because it’s not convenient.

Who knew convenience was such a complex issue?


Will Burke said...

We have the fewest paid holidays? I guess young countries have less to celebrate.

Lisa said...

I have asked myself more than once (today) how it is that I'm busier than ever. I think it has something to do with all these conveniences.

Simply Suthern said...

It is SOOOO convenient to get yourself into SOOO much trouble( I am just assuming here, not that I know, from any experience, really), financially, socially, and legally.

Aint it odd with all the conveninces available that when you go online they never have that one convenience that you need at that moment.

Big Fat Gini said...

I wish someone would conveniently remind me that I have a few million sitting in a bank account that I forgot about...

I got a reminder from Birthday Calendar for the birthday of someone that doesn't speak to me anymore. I couldn't tell if it was a weird sign from God or a helpful reminder that the person in question is probably still an a-hole...

Kavi said...

Ah ! Conveniences ! Conveniences !! the world is full of conveniences !

There are no recorded messages here. People just show up at the door !


Bossy Betty said...

Pearl. This post was READ by Bossy Betty. Please press one if you wish to continue to receive such comments.

Symdaddy said...

Everything is sooooooo convenient these days ... until you are desperate for something important and then ev'rythin' seems to be closed!

Sweet Cheeks said...

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'Pearl your hair is on fire!'

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Sam Liu said...

Facebook saved my life so far as birthdays are concerned. I have a fairly good memory, but I simply cannot remember numbers and I certainly can't remember the numbers of people's birthdays. Good ol' FB has solved this issue, and I too now find myself wishing happy birthday to very obscure people.

Convenience are a marvellous, marvellous thing. Though a little inconvenience is needed if one is to be able to moan now and again, which, as a Brit, I love doing.

Beta Dad said...

I'm constantly caring for and feeding the devices and programs that make my life so convenient. And paying for them. And when they fail me, I panic.

Fred Miller said...

Hey, Pearl. Sorry I've been absent. I've been building a new site and working on getting my blog back on-line. It's still down because of a mistake I made two months ago. Weird. Anyway, I haven't deserted you. But my site's down. I'll be checking in.

Flea said...

FaceCrack. It's insane. I ignore and block everything. But I squishy heart the FaceCrack.

Pearl said...

It's addictive, in a sense.

I've now decided that should I need to take over the world -- and it's possible that I will -- that I shall do so by entering through the screens in our living rooms...

Bella said...


My convinent reminder is my "Mother" lol

I make sure to tell her everything immediately before I forget, and she does the rest..

She is a Super Mom !! And it's free of charge he he he

Bella (M)

a Broad said...

I have learned a huge lesson living here. Convenience depends on IF you speak the Language.
Otherwise, you carry your own groceries home, pick up your own freaking pizza and have no idea what they are asking you so you don't bother making appointments on the phone .. If someone were to call and the little robot tells me in Spanish that my prescription is ready, I will hang up on it halfway through, figuring it is another one of those Robots selling me something.

I quit Facebook.
I don't want that many "friends"

Noelle said...

I'm really grateful for the on-line dating convenience as that's how I met my husband! :)

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I remember birthdays of high school friends I no longer see, but not those of current friends (and sometimes not those of family, oops. So I subscribe to an online greeting card service and get reminders for everyone.

savannah said...

what meds are you on and can i have some? ;~D xoxoxoxoxo

(in the spirit of full disclosure, this was a humorous comment and only intended to make pearl laugh.)

Gigi said...

Yeah, those conveniences can sometimes really be inconvenient. So I've decided to ignore everything until it becomes an emergency.

LOVED Betty's comment!

vanilla said...

"Enter through the screen.." Sorry. Some nameless droid has already done that. We're doomed.

lisleman said...

Good thing they don't announce the meds or movie title in the voice message.
It's embarrassing to have your family finding out you are getting viagra and Pee Wee Herman's adventures.

Anonymous said...

Nerdy coincidence.... Today, I was overjoyed to receive an email alert from my library telling me that my reserved book was waiting for me. So I jumped on my motor scooter and zipped right over there! This was all prior to reading your column. Weird! And P.S...You outta get your anxiety meds through the mail like I do. It's way cheaper, girl! Cheers! Your Anxious Friend, TOWPy

powdergirl said...

I know that convenience was a complex issue the first time my interac card failed to "swipe". And again, the first time I went f**king Christmas shopping and the interac was down and I'd left the rest of my bits of plastic a half a mile away in my truck because I like to travel light and just jam a card in my pocket and go.
Yeah, can't count the number of times I've said to a sales clerk: convenience is so convenient when it's working, innit?
Reminds me of your recent post about the "prepper's", but leaves me surprisingly sympathetic to their cause : /

Argent said...

I want a convenient thing to generate comments that are as witty as the posts they are aimed at. Until then you'll have to put up with me saying LOL and clapping (in my room where no-one can hear me).

gigidiaz said...

I have issues with these conveniences. While amazing, I think some of our new technology is really alienating us from each other. We more often talk to each other, wish happy birthday, and catch up from behind a computer screen then in person; and I think human beings are social creatures that NEED the in person interaction. I think "connecting" is not necessarily connecting when it's happening through gadgets.

I would totally let the door to door massage dude in. I have decided he looks like Sheemar Moore when acting as Derek Morgan in Criminal Minds... Yummm. Going to sit with that thought and my coffee for a little while. Or all day. Dunno yet.