What happened to smelling the roses?

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

People tend to embrace this world of evolving technology. I'd rather just sit back and smell the roses.

Composer John Philip Sousa, for instance, predicted 100 years ago that recordings would lead to the extinction of music. He believed the phonograph, or canned music, would position professional musicians out of work and wear down the superior instincts of the ear.

"Everyone will have their ready-made or ready-pirated music in their cupboards," he once said. He's not too far from the reality of it all.

The days of seeing a live show in an intimate venue while embracing a musician's talents and spontaneity on-stage are today replaced with downloads from iTunes or pirated CDs. Good-bye Rat Pack and clinking glasses.

Granted, heightened prices has something to blame for this atrocity. Some venues blame performers for their escalated fees while performers say venues add extra charges. Whoever is to blame, ticket prices are soaring for the most part and difficult to swing on a regular basis.

Technology is effecting everything in our lives, however, not just music. The introduction of cell phones, which really is a good thing if used during emergencies only, and that's a joke in itself, has now led to folks looking like they stepped off the set of "Star Trek" with their ear pieces despondently sticking out of their heads.

More importantly, today's children are defined by the video game box they own and not the friends with which they hang. For instance, Game Cube is now archaic, but having an X-Box 360, PSP or the soon-to-come PS3 means you're "really cool."

I've often come across some kids who say they're bored; there's nothing to do. I say that's because this age of technology has infested their minds with constant noises, images and quick sound bites. The idea of having "quiet time" or locating some form of entertainment leaves them lost and confused! Who's to blame?

My husband and I sincerely tried to avoid the point-of-no-return trap of electronics for our children. For the most part, we did OK until their classmates got in the picture.

"But mom, so-and-so has the latest game and if he comes over, he'll think I'm boring!" is one remark I hear. There's also, "Mom, all my friends have PSP. It's not fair!" Thanks, parents.

In general, that argument doesn't work with me. Frankly, I find it difficult to dish out $250 for a machine that takes my son's attention away from the simpler things in life just so that some sort of mechanism can baby-sit him for a few hours.

What happened to those days when we used our imaginations to entertain ourselves? When Matchbox cars (made in England) filled endless hours of fun and reading a book - dare the thought! - actually took us to far away places we never thought we'd visit?

Or how about when we used pots as helmets as we dared to become the superhero within our household and save all the dolls and cars from the ravage of some imaginary foe?

Sure, there were days we were bored. That's when we went outside and grouped a bunch of kids to play games like baseball, football or hide-and-seek. Now we have organized sports and that's a whole other topic.

All this technology was created to save time, these companies say, but I beg to differ. Things were simpler more than two decades ago and it seemed we had more time to sit back and enjoy life.

We weren't fixated on computers, cell phones or video games. We ate dinner, spoke to one another at the table as a family and on occasion, went for a walk to Baskin-Robbins.

We saw concerts at the park, strolled the big city like we were on vacation and actually took the time to enjoy life. But as I often hear, that's a thing of the past.

Reach Andrea E. Garcia at 427-6935 or agarcia@dailyrepublic.net.