Is anything really all that convenient
nowadays? In theory technology is
ready, willing, and waiting to serve
our every need. Yet working through
it's convoluted steps and processes
seems in the end more cumbersome
than the good old fashioned way. Have
I become a confirmed curmudgeon or
is is it time to realize that there is NO
easy way to get anything done? Try as
I might, the older I get the harder life
gets. And frankly, I don't think that's
my fault. Where did we go wrong?!
Case in point - air travel. In days gone
by one dialed or visited a travel agent
who took care of everything. If options
were required, they laid them out while
explaining the differences. Hence it
was easy to make an informed decision
given an "expert" had gathered the data
and made a recommendation. Today we
must navigate cumbersome airline and
consolidated travel websites in order
to figure out for ourselves where and
when. Running the risk of ending up
in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Having done exactly that for the last
ninety minutes, I was just about to
complete my transaction when I was
kicked out due to exceeding my time
limit. And so... I had to start OVER.
What's so damned convenient about
that?! The same applies to hotels. In
the old days one asked an expert what
was the best place in town or chose
based on budget and availability. Now
we wade through thousands of traveler
reviews and photos for validation that
our choice is the right one. Really?!
Out of order
What concerns me is that such a shift
against historical precedence has now
usurped other's abilities to earn a decent
living. More important, the burden is
now upon our shoulders which means
we're now doing their job. And I don't
know about you but I never set out to
become an internet jack of all trades.
At least in theory an expert is exactly
that. Someone who knows what he/she
is doing. And while I think I'm a fairly
intelligent guy - I'm not foolish enough
to assume that I know it all. Do you?!
For this weary traveler, part of my angst
is that I simply don't have the time nor
patience. Therefore by the time I scroll
past all of the fine print to those boxes
that indemnify any corporate entity of
any responsibility - I'm more than done.
Meaning that I have no idea what I have
or have not agreed to. At that point the
tedium of going through the motions has
driven me to the point of surrender. After
all, all I wanted was to get from here to
there. So why must I be put through such
an arduous process to do just that?!
There has to be an easier way. Yet frankly
I'm not sure any such "get out of jail card"
still exists. To my knowledge a few travel
agents remain in business here in town.
Therefore they're ready and willing to help.
I simply have to shift out of do-it-yourself
mode back to the land of a service culture.
Sadly, few facilitators of convenience still
exist here in America. Exactly when did
you last have groceries delivered? Or had
a doctor make a house call? Today it's all
about them - and absolutely NOT us. So
is it safe to assume we're out of service?
I'm all for quality of life. However one
can't help but long for the times when
living was more civilized. Having an
on-line "concierge" based in Mumbai
is not the same as having a neighbor
you know and trust giving you exactly
what you want. What's most lacking is
a sense of discovery. Today it's quite
easy to purchase black pants at any
price on-line. But sifting through the
digital debris to find something you
never knew you needed is virtually
impossible. What are we missing?
Missing in action
In our efforts to continuously check off
our lists we may have circumvented any
chance of discovering a better alternative.
While the fluidity of on-line transactions
continues to get faster than ever, I can't
help but wonder if we're all missing out
on something more. Imagine returning
to a time and place where someone just
might have a better answer? Sadly the
only way we have to discern whether
said nirvana exists is to Google "dreams."
There one may discover the missing link.
Or have we truly and finally... LOST IT?