Evolution is a slow and necessary process. The earliest primates looked at their stubby, medial finger and thought that it would be really handy if one day, it opposed the other four. Then, after evolution had its way and turned the thumb downwards after millions of years, homosapien never even gave it a second thought. Through the various ages we have evolved to use our surroundings and materials to our advantage, thanks to that down turned, opposable finger. For example: the stone age where we used primitive tools made from stones: the bronze age, where we made jewellery, weapons and household items from – you guessed it….. bronze: the iron age, where we learned to ….. iron things (?)….My point being: since the opposable thumb came into being, human evolution has evolved at a heart stopping rate.
Nowadays, during the fastest changing age of all: the age of technology, the thumb has become an even more invaluable tool than it ever was, allowing us to swipe and type. And not only that: the Age of Technology is to lazy people what the bronze age was to people who liked wearing bronze stuff or the iron age was to people who liked ironing.
This all became apparent after an Xbox 360 arrived into our lives and showed us just how lazy we had become. My husband, sitting beside me on the couch, asked me to pass the games controller. After much groaning on my part that it was four inches from my outstretched hand and I wasn’t willing to bend anymore, he told me not to worry, took out his mobile phone, swiped an icon and now it was a games controller.
I don’t even need to get up, walk across the room, wait a painstaking twenty seconds for my pc to boot up to check if an important email has come through. No, I simply take my phone, click a button and it’s all there, in my tiny little phone.
My thumb has forgotten the art of writing. In school, I had the neatest penmanship in the class, my handwriting neat, pretty and an art in itself. But today, should someone annoyingly ask me to handwrite something which can’t be sent by text/email, I sigh, tut and take out my redundant pen, scrawling an illegible mess on the paper, most often, a cheque. I am waiting for the bank to ring me one day and ask if I’m sure I want to pay Mr. J. Doe sixty thousand, five hundred euro, when in fact the cheque was made out for twenty seven euro and three cents.
Even driving has become lazy. I no longer need to look behind while reversing as the tv mounted on the dash board shows all behind me. Simply pressing a button means the car can park itself – gone are the days of my disastrous parallel parking attempts: back and forward, back and forward while the pedestrians snicker at my crapness. No, all I need do now is choose my spot, press the button, move my feet on the pedals a bit and voila! One perfectly parked car. Those self same pedestrians marvel at my parking prowess and look upon my symmetrical vehicular placement with admiration.
So while I sit on my couch, pondering these leaps of change and evolution, my stomach rumbles and I argue with my husband over who will answer the door to the take away delivery guy.
“I’m enjoying this movie, can’t you get the door?” I complain.
“Just pause the tv!” he replies.
“But I can’t find the remote.”
“It’s right over there….. hold on….. ‘Xbox, pause’. See, it’s voice control. Movie paused, answer the door.”
“Tut. Stupid technology.”