Out With The Old…Sometimes…

I like toys.

I know, I know, that’s not really a huge surprise. I’m an early adopter of new technologies (sometimes to my chagrin), and I am in a perpetual difference of opinion with my wife over the most effective tools with which to make life more productive and fun. These differences of opinion happen when I recommend the latest app or device that I’ve found, or occasionally set her up with a free account for a great new service, only to discover that she still uses a paper-and-pen planner to schedule her week and to make her to-do lists. She integrates them into iCal as an afterthought, and essentially only so that I will have a copy of her schedule in electronic form.

Both she and my friend and fellow-blogger, Katherine, scoffed and shook their heads disdainfully at me over dinner one night when discussing my preference for ebooks to paperbacks. Yet, my wife still bought an e-reader for me for last year’s birthday.

As high-tech as I am, however, I discover myself preferring amazingly low-tech methods in certain aspects of life. Years ago, I eschewed electric razors in favor of a Gillette Mach 3 that I received as a Christmas gift. The reason for the choice was simple: I get a better shave with the latter. I still use the same razor that I received years ago, in fact. It’s become sort of sentimental.

More recently, I let go of the programmable coffee pot that had coffee hot and waiting for me each morning in favor of a French press. The reason was because I’m a complete snob about having perfect coffee, and this is the best taste I’ve been able to achieve. The choice required an alteration to my lifestyle: I have less time in the morning because I boil the water and grind the coffee fresh as soon as I wake up. It’s a low-tech sacrifice with great results.

Of course, the waking up occurs after the alert from an alarm clock that sets itself and remembers that the times I wake on weekends are different than weekdays, as well as understanding Daylight Savings Time changes. High-tech to low-tech.

Some family members prefer tea to coffee when they wake up. They have a nifty little device that boils the water for them in the mornings. I boil mine in a tea pot. I’m not sure why. Something about it just feels right. Yet, as right as it feels to work on something around the house with a traditional screwdriver, I’ll break out the battery-powered screw gun to sink a screw whenever and wherever I have the option. Working smarter, not harder, and all that. My wrist thanks me.

We have various high-tech appliances in the kitchen to assist in Karen’s creations of culinary masterpieces, as well as my fumbling through basic assemblies of meals when it’s my turn to cook. Yet we favor the low-tech in surprising ways (cast iron skillets flavor your breakfast sausage so much better that something with a non-stick coating!).

I even lament the decline of physical books on my shelves occasionally.

As much as I like my toys, there are times when the latest advancements in technology, while making life easier and more convenient for scheduling purposes, simply do not achieve the same level of quality as the low-tech, dare I say traditional, tools. I think that the thing to look for is functionality, not trends.  And, I think, the thresh-hold of what we’re willing to experiment with is different for each of us in different circumstances. Even beyond that, sometimes the low-tech options have more character.  Having choices is great…except when it’s not.

But I’ll take the battery-powered screw gun to a traditional screwdriver any day. Insert Tim Allen noise here.

Photo Attribution: Living in Monrovia


  1. One word: Keurig.

    Consistent, delicious, and don’t have to deal with that “old coffee” mesh filter. I used to love a french-press, but I love the convenience of the Keurig.

  2. I think the most interesting thing is how we spouses adapt to each other. ie Karen buying you the e-reader when she obviously prefers REAL books. I supremely disliked coffee until Steve started perfecting his own cup, and I felt left out. And now the next coffee phase is the wonderful world of the vacuum press.
    In Texas I wished I had an Eye (I,i?) phone so I could search the net in the car. Even I too am caught in the web of technology, literally.

  3. You’re right, Christine, we do influence each other a great deal. Karen now insists that she must perfect my tastes in tea as I perfected hers in coffee. I sort of feel left out, as well.

    Jaime, I’ve used a Keurig, and you’re right, it is an amazing time saver. It just didn’t take enough care with the coffee for me, didn’t perfect it quiet enough. It’s really what we prioritize, isn’t it? If time were of the essence, and good was good enough, I think the Keurig is the easiest to use, hands down. I chose to sacrifice time for the exact taste that I wanted. There are other areas in which I would make the opposite decision.

  4. When it comes to ACTUAL toys 😉 I find it difficult as a parent because most of it is geared towards marketing.
    In fact I am a closted Sponge Bob fan.
    So when it comes to buying toys I opted for a Buzz Lightyear that made no noise in an attempt to create play value.
    I have never bought any Playdough products but make it for cheap at home with the kids to create play value.
    I suppose it comes down to what the individual values.
    Just a different twist on the conversation!
    p.s. While I love reading book books…I enjoy blogging because I can write so much faster than pen to paper.

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