Indispensable Technology

Today’s PostADay question was “What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?”

Certainly, I depend on my computer for work, communicating with family and friends, learning and training, and entertainment–mostly music. I recently got to see how a Kindle works. Maybe one day I will get to see a Nook, which is compatible with library books. A friend in book group has been so enthusiastic about her Kindle that she hasn’t stopped reading since she got it. She’s inspired other people in the group to get one. It was pretty cool (there was even a Scrabble game!), but I prefer traditional books more. These new technologies–and eBooks–are really interesting to know about, however.

But when I really think about it, the technologies I can’t live without are my wheelchairs–the motorized one and the manual one. They both help me get around and do things; otherwise I would be stuck, unable to go anywhere. They are tremendous gifts, and I can finally see them as liberators–as I have for years now. But it took awhile.

Over the years, people have called me Hot Rod or Hot Rod Mama and teased me about my driving and backing-up skills. I always say, “Some days I have it, and some days I don’t.” Beyonce’s song “To the Left (Irreplaceable)” runs through my head when backing up. Little kids often get a kick out of my “car.” It’s fun seeing “Wow!” in their faces.

Some days I’m tempted to travel at the highest levels of speed that my chair will go. I’ve only tried it twice, with no problems, accidents, or injuries. The cautious and sensible side of my nature always prevails. Slow is good.

Another helpful piece of low technology is my reacher, which I use to pick up pens, papers and other objects from the floor or high shelves. Not everything will work, like heavy tomes, and even with a heavy-duty kitchen reacher, you have to be careful when lifting glasses up or down. People without mobility challenges find them handy when something is inaccessible. I’d recommend them to everyone.

When my aunt and I were in Philadelphia in 2007, we went to the Franklin Institute Museum. We were happily surprised and pleased to learn that Benjamin Franklin invented the reacher so that he could have a better way to retrieve books from his shelves and put them back. An example could be viewed in one of the display cases, and of course it looked much different from the modern, lightweight and collapsible ones. I think he would be tickled that so many of his creations are still in use today. My aunt describes Franklin and so many others as “sent for his time,” and Franklin definitely was. I loved his Autobiography, and I couldn’t leave Philadelphia without picking up a copy of Poor Richard’s Almanack. We haven’t made it through Walter Isaacson’s biography of him yet, but we will.

Another book that I am looking forward to is Life Without Limits, by Nick Vujicic, who happens to have been born without arms or legs. He is a preacher and motivational speaker who now lives in California. I’ve seen him a lot on TV.







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Filed under History, postaday2011

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