Modern day miracles to amuse and amaze

McMurray Musings Connects

By THERESA WELLS, Connect Columnist

When I bought a new vehicle I knew that I wanted a remote start installed. During those long, cold winters in the north the thought of walking out to a vehicle that has warmed up nicely is one of those things that actually convinces me to leave my house on occasion. I spoke with the good people at my car dealership, and when I showed up to collect my brand new vehicle I was astonished when instead of an extra key fob I was handed instructions on how to use the “app” for my remote car starter.

Me being me, of course, I began quizzing the technician. So this meant I could start my car from my office, I asked. Of course, he replied. From the airport tarmac when my flight arrived, I asked. Absolutely, he said. From across the country when I am on vacation, I asked. I suppose, he said, although he didn’t imagine I would need to do that. When I was on a ship headed to Antarctica and surrounded by icebergs, I asked?

By now he was edging away from me and looking slightly alarmed, as it seemed I had been made so giddy by the technology that he was clearly afraid I would burst into a monologue on the wonders of the horseless carriage and how this was going to revolutionize the modern era – but I couldn’t help myself. The idea of being able to start my car by tapping a button on my cell phone elicited something very unusual in me, as it seemed so far-fetched even from where I started in this world.

I remember a life before cell phones, and most certainly before the era of smart phones and apps. Even remote starters were not really very common, as while they existed they were generally prohibitively expensive.

I remember a life before cell phones, and most certainly before the era of smart phones and apps. Even remote starters were not really very common, as while they existed they were generally prohibitively expensive. The very concept of a remote start that one could access through their cell phone would have been quite swoon-worthy just a few decades ago.

And it’s not like cell phones and remote starters are the only things that have changed our lives. Programmable thermostats. Intuitive security systems, also monitored and activated through cell phones. Baby monitors, not just with sound but with accompanying video. Our technology has gotten progressively smarter, and yet I suspect we often take it for granted without even recognizing how far we have come in such a short time.

A day or so ago a friend posted a video on Instagram of a new tree decoration. A small Santa figurine, all one has to do is to “blow” on the light he holds and all the lights on your tree turn off. What kind of wizardry is this, anyhow? We have everyday sorcery going on here, far removed from the simple advancements like light bulbs that changed our destiny and moving into every single facet of our lives.

One of my favourite books is Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, in which a man is transported back in time to the medieval ages and through his knowledge of the future is able to amaze and astound the residents of that era, convincing them that he is some kind of magician or sorcerer. Can you even imagine bringing someone from that era, or even the era of Twain, into 2015 and observing their reaction?

It’s nothing short of astonishing, really. I think at times we forget our own innovation and creativity, and our drive to pursue novel technological developments. We have become so accustomed to them that we fail to be as amazed as we probably should be, because these things have become so common place.

I have made it a habit now to come up with one thing every single day that likely revolutionized our lives – or at the very least had a significant impact in making life easier, creating more time for other things or changed the way we behave.

From light bulbs to washing machines, cell phone activated remote car starters to furnaces, Netflix to digital books and magazines; I have found something every single day for which to find a moment to be amazed – and to be grateful.
We live in a world of modern day miracles, some large and some small, but each and every one worthy of a moment of reflection to contemplate how far we have come – and how very far we may yet go.

– Connect Weekly –