As we zoom past middle-age, our adaptability to new technologies tends to wane. In my lifetime, music formats have transformed from 45 RPM records bought at the 5 & Dime to 8-tracks to cassettes to compact disks to digital files (like MP3’s, WAV’s, and more formats than the uninitiated can count) and finally, to internet streaming to God only knows what is next. Many of us decide to get off the technology train entirely and come full-circle back to vinyl. Most can boast a minimal proficiency in every format. In my own home, one might come across an 8-track tape by the 70s rock band Boston, however, it is more than a feeling that upgrading all of these albums once again is considerably less than appealing. While most of us eventually adapt, one wonders what, if anything, has been lost along the way.
In our own immediate family, we tend to buy cars and keep them for a decade or more. We maintain them along the way but work to get every dollar out of the asset. So, technology can make quite a jump from purchase to purchase. When renting a car on a business trip this month, the attendant at the agency was wholly amused by my working to operate the keyless-start. How can an automobile be an automobile without a key? Have we returned to the Model T with no lock and a crank start? Maybe.
But, is the key really required? Or, has it become a talisman wherein its magic springs only from our imagined need of it? Keyless may be a better way. One wonders where else we should hand over the keys. So much of life is driven by our need for the familiar. This resistance may prevent our discovery of a better, freer life.