HUMOR – Technology giveth and technology taketh away

BY DOROTHY ROSBY

According to the manufacturers of Cascade dishwashing detergent, using a dishwasher to wash your dishes saves 30 minutes a day over handwashing them. I read a fascinating article on the subject while I was wandering around the internet today frittering away the half hour I’d just saved using my dishwasher.  

The author went on to say that we save 230 hours a year by letting our dishwashers do the work. I wasted another half hour trying to understand how saving 30 minutes a day washing dishes would save me 230 hours a year. It doesn’t add up, even when you count leap year. The only thing I can figure is that some dishwashers also clear the table, load and unload themselves and put the clean dishes away.  

Mine doesn’t do any of that, but at least I have that extra half hour every time I use my dishwasher. The question is, what am I doing with it? And what am I doing with all the time my other modern conveniences are supposedly saving me? Theoretically I should have all sorts of free time to accomplish great things—or nap. 

I have a washer and dryer so I don’t have to spend entire afternoons beating my clothes on a rock and hanging them up to dry. My refrigerator defrosts itself so I don’t have to stand in front of it for hours with a hairdryer and an ice pick. Quicken saves me 10 or 15 hours every month balancing my checkbook. I know that sounds like a lot, but I’m not any better at math than the good people at Cascade are.  

I even save time every day not tying my tennis shoes because they have Velcro fasteners. This is lucky because I spend so much time looking for them.  

I won’t try to tally up all the hours my modern conveniences are saving me because I can’t find my cellphone. Among its many timesaving apps is a built-in calculator which saves me a lot of time adding and subtracting—when I can find it. 

The point is, I should have a lot of extra time. So why don’t I? I can’t be spending it all looking for my cellphone and my tennis shoes. 

To make sense of it, I went to Google, that fount of all knowledge and time waster of epic proportions. I was horrified by what I found. One article said that if we’re average we use two and a half hours every weekday going through our personal email. They didn’t break it down, but I estimate two hours and 20 minutes of that are spent deleting spam. 

One website claimed the average American spends more than two hours a day on social media which means social media has replaced solitaire as the most common way to avoid doing actual work on the computer.

Another website said we spend just over three hours per day watching television and more than four and a half hours a week looking for our remotes. I didn’t make that up. That’s about 40 minutes a day looking for our remote if my math is correct. It may not be because I still haven’t found my cellphone. I’m just lucky I have a dishwasher otherwise I wouldn’t have time to look for our remote. 

Suddenly I understood. When it comes to time, technology giveth and technology taketh away. And some technology taketh a lot more than it giveth. It only took all the time my dishwasher, washing machine and Velcro tennis shoes have saved me over the last month and a half to figure that out.  

Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays including Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Be Ticked off AboutHumorous Essays on the Hassles of Our Time. Contact drosby@rushmore.com.