Lying in bed, the first one I see is the the tubing that goes from insulin pump to abdomen. People are always startled to hear that I sleep with a little pager-like device stuck to my body. True, it is at times inconvenient when I turn over and my pump slides off the bed, and yet it I'm used to it.
Then there are the recreational wires. I (cough) use an iPod way more than I probably should. i have also started the obnoxious habit of failing to capitalize my "i"s. Growing up in the age of radio technology-turned-portable-everything, I can't fall alseep without listening to something. It started back in junior high, when I would just leave my radio on the windowsill tuned in to 100.5 FM, waking up to used car ads and Dr. Drew's "Loveline." Then there was the audio books phase, which also propelled me through the Walkman phase, longer than most, and later on to the Discman ("skip-free") era. In college, there were the carefully-selected mix cds from boyfriends and roommates. There was always a startling difference between the "sleep" cd and the "running / rocking out" cd. And these days...well, my inner nerd has emerged triumphant with the blossoming of podcasts. The highlight of every Monday is downloading the latest "This American Life," "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," "Sound Opinions," "Dawn and Drew Show," "PRI: Selected Shorts," and many more my inner geek is not yet comfortable enough to reveal.
So far both of these cords are both physically close to my body and represent a psychological or otherwise physiological dependency (a bit of a hyperbole for the iPod, but definitely true for my iPump). Even more recent is my very first laptop, adquired this summer through an amazing discount. Never before have I been able to type a story or respond to an email in bed. Genius. I don't trust myself quite enough to take my darling Wangari Maathai (aptly named, I hope) beyond the corner coffee shop. I have taken her to Progressive Grounds down the street, trotting carefully with her tucked away in an inherited computer-carrying case, bringing along yet more cords.
Maybe this is the generation of robots. Maybe the Flight of the Conchords are singing prophesies. Maybe the goal of technology is to get all of us non-programmed beings into some state of wire-and-cord obsession, so much so that our knowledge of small nuts and bolts is greater than that of our own selves. Maybe our intellectual strength is really no more potent than our ability to run a solid battery.
The extent to which I use technology on a daily basis really struck me a few days ago, when I was walking uphill home and felt three hand-size lumps in my pockets, all of which make sounds that indicate different things, all of which I use every day, all of which I could survive successfully without. I pulled them out of my pockets while waiting for the bus and stared my full palms for a moment: cell phone, iPod, insulin pump. Each of them store so much information that I consider vital--medical dosages, emergency numbers, that one dance playlist I spent two hours fine-tuning. Suddenly my phone began vibrating, and I grabbed my pump, accidentally turning up the volume to Ira Glass on my ears.
Wires and cords. They're taking over.