“If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence.
And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your
heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away
every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.”
St. Francis de Sales
(a pair of Belgium working horses on Mackinac Island / Julie Cook / 2017)
My husband and I hopped in the car the other evening, as we were getting ready to
head over to Atlanta to see our son and daughter-n-law…
and I don’t know what brought it up, but we got off on a small technology tangent.
Most likely what got us started was my wanting to turn on the seat warmers.
Temps had not reached above the freezing point all day, and now the sun was quickly
setting sending temperatures plummeting.
Needless to say, I’ve been mostly cold for the last two months.
My husband said, for no one in particular, “technology left me years ago…
it left me back with gee and haw…”
“GEE, HAW???!!!!” I practically shout before bursting out into full laughter.
For those of you unfamiliar with such words, Gee and Haw are the two words used with
working animals such as mules, draft horses, and even sled dogs.
Gee means for the mule, horse or dog to turn right
Shout ‘Haw,’ and the animal turns left.
My husband can remember as a little boy visiting his grandparents up in north
Georgia with his grandfather using mules to plow the fields.
He’d shout “Gee” then “Haw,” and those mules knew exactly which way to turn.
That was probably in the early 1950’s as rural Georgia was just that, still very rural.
We had actually heard the same terms used recently, this past summer when visiting
Mackinac Island as there are no vehicles on the island—only draft horses doing
everything from acting as the taxis to delivering UPS.
And I must say, I for one, found it somewhat comforting.
It was actually really refreshing.
I know it, being technology, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon but instead will only be advancing…
And sadly so…
for technology has, if it hasn’t already, gotten entirely out of hand as well as a disaster
just waiting to happen…
This insatiable need of ours to see, to know, to hear, to tell everything instantaneously is a very dangerous false need.
It has created a very dangerous sense of profound falsehoods that most of us don’t even
For we are a people who are greatly dependent upon our technology—for even life
and death issues…
But let’s look at a couple non-life-threatening examples of when technology goes
awry…or perhaps just more of an irksome trouble.
During the busy Christmas shopping
mayhem season, my husband’s internet randomly went out at his store. His is a busy retail
business, so when there’s a technology issue and his register goes out, or his credit card machine goes out, he loses money as people will walk out the door.
We spent hours on the phone with AT&T trying to find a person who was actually
“stateside” as we continued narrowing help down to Georgia, then down to our individual town.
That took hours of waiting and frustration. All the while the store is full of people
who want to be waited on and checked out.
We were told it would be days before they could get someone out to check out our problem.
Days was not an option.
In the meantime, we had to pull out the old-timey credit card swiper….remember
those low tech little machines?
A customer would lay their card down on top of a triple carbon copy slip
while the clerk swiped the little lever over the card and carbon paper. The
customer’s card info would be swiped and imprinted onto the carbon ticket.
The customer would then sign the swiped carbon slip as the clerk would then pull off
the customer copy while keeping the store copy…
then off went the happy customer with their purchase.
The old-timey swiping machine worked perfectly fine as we waited for the AT&T technician
to eventually make the trip to the store.
Turns out the internet was out for unknown reasons randomly in the shopping center…
the next time it went out, a week later, the technician sent us out get a new cable…
Last evening we went to neighboring town for supper at a Craker Barrel.
I often crave Cracker Barrel’s simple homey fare offering of
good ol’ southern prepared food.
Chicken and dumplings, fried okra, spicy collard greens, southern style green beans…
or even their offering of breakfast for supper.
Plus they had a roaring fire going and we were fortunate to snag
a table by the fire.
When we’d finished our meal we took the bill out to the register to pay.
The line snaked all the way back into the dining area.
We figured they were low of help at the registers…
but that was not the issue.
Their card machines weren’t working probably and weren’t reading folks
debit or credit cards correctly.
Finally, as we made our way to a cashier, we told the manager we were going
to pay with something very novel…real money.
The manager was grateful and said he wished he had one of the old-timey
credit card swiper machines but since he was the oldest one on staff, he was the only
one who even knew what such a machine was…
Those are just a couple examples of small technological issues
of when things don’t work or go wrong.
Now let’s consider a bit larger trouble.
Saturday, a statewide alert went out in Hawaii, alerting the public that a ballistic missile was on its way to the Islands.
It was one of those Amber style alerts that went out on everyone’s phones.
It was not a drill and everyone needed to seek immediate shelter.
For those in Hawaii, it was the end of life as they had known it.
With North Korea’s 24/7 threats, threatening to send a nuclear warhead
in the direction of Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, or Alaska…well its all had everyone
a tad bit nervous…so Saturday, it seemed that the unthinkable was actually happening.
The issued warning alert was in actuality incorrect.
It had been issued by mistake.
There was no missile, no need to duck and cover.
No need for immediate Last Rites.
I wonder how busy the ER’s were following the correction with those feigning a
possible heart attack?
So it should come as no surprise that we’ve gotten really good these days at lamenting,
“technology, it’s great when it works…not so much when it doesn’t…”
And yet I rather miss our low tech dealings during these waning days of ours…
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.