It’s time to carbon date yourself.
Do you get a bit frustrated when your printer doesn’t give you a copy within five seconds?
The question isn’t why the printer is so slow as much as why we don’t appreciate what we have.
Back in the last Ice Age when guys would turn red if their underwear showed in a crowd and ladies would die of embarrassment if bra straps were exposed, we made copies using carbon paper carefully placed between two sheets of paper.
Carbon paper was used primarily on a device called a typewriter where the act of striking the keys was called typing and not keyboarding. The high tech among of us had the pinnacle of technology — electric typewriters. Either which way the act of simply placing a sheet of carbon paper between two blank sheets of paper and then feeding them correctly into the carriage so they would line up properly took the same amount of time as a photocopier today can churn out 500 copies.
Those who keyboarded for a living — they were actually called typists — got a workout every time they moved their device. One Royal — manual or otherwise — weighed the same as roughly a truckload of iPads.
Today, of course, you can whip out your smartphone then type in a text message and send it to a few thousand people in a matter of seconds. No need to worry about smudging correction fluid on your hand or message when you make a mistake just hit the delete key and keep going or do what most do and not take the time to correct any errors.
Over the centuries — well, OK for those of us who took typing class in high school when air conditioning in classrooms was unheard of even here in the Northern San Joaquin Valley it was more like over the last four decades — we went from carbon paper to photocopiers that weighed more than a Cadillac Escalade and cost as much and then to smaller and smaller copiers.
It used to take a good five minutes for a photocopier to warm up before we could make a copy. And then it took 15 seconds to churn out a copy.
We thought that was great until, of course, copiers came out that took a minute to fire up.
It’s true. We rejoiced in being able to get a copy printed out in two minutes. Now we are practically climbing the wall if it takes more than two seconds. Worse yet, we don’t appreciate what we have.
We keep wanting things to be quicker. Yet the quicker they become the less happy we are. We want it to be even faster.
Why? It’s a good question.
Earlier this week while driving the 120 Bypass, I noticed a driver coming up in my rearview mirror as I neared Airport Way in the eastbound lanes. I glanced down, noticed I was doing 68 mph, and sped up a bit so I could move over into the right hand lane and get out of his way. As I was dropping back down in speed — I was at 70 mph when I looked down next — he passed me as if I was standing still. I figured he was going between 80 and 85 mph.
A few minutes later after I took the Main Street exit. He was the first car stopped at the signal. When I pulled into the Postal Annex parking lot on Industrial Park Drive, the guy who was in his early 20s was parked there hunched over a smartphone as he sat behind the wheel. I go in, get my mail, and come back out and he’s still there texting away.
It’s not that impatience or driving like a madman to get somewhere as if you’re responding to a life and death matter is just the province of the young. We all do it from time to time including the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.
And for what? So we can text or do some other equally unimportant task? And by driving like a maniac in heavy traffic on freeways and then on roadways controlled by traffic signals and such we maybe get there a few minutes and sometimes just a few seconds sooner than people we passed along the way.
Yet we never appreciate or use that time we save by risking our lives and the lives of others.
It is the same in a way with printers and other modern-day marvels that some would argue have made our lives a little bit too convenient.
We don’t value things as much if we get them instantaneously.
It’s why patience is a virtue.
If for no other reason it helps us take a couple of breaths and realize just how fortunate we are.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.