I can quit anytime I want

I can’t imagine my life today without the conveniences of the modern age, innovations I take for granted in my daily routine:  Electricity, which runs my home; computers, which run my professional work; and Amazon, which runs the rest of my life.

My daughter says the first step towards recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem. I remain in denial. 

Throughout my adult life, I have adapted to a mind-bending stream of advances and inventions. I embraced fax machines and voice mail. I adjusted to computers and double-clicking, accepted email and the internet, welcomed social media and texting. But one day the speed and scope of information I had to quickly absorb and the hydra-headed to-do lists I had to juggle reached a breaking point.

Then I discovered Amazon, and I felt like businessman in a 1950s sitcom with the best wife in the world.  

Scene 1: I am finishing at the dentist’s office when the hygienist suggests I try using an electric toothbrush. It’s nearly 8 p.m., I haven’t had dinner, and need to pack for a business trip when I get home. “It’s just something to think about,” is the last thing I hear her say as I whip out my iPad and purchase the model she recommends with one click. It will beat me home from my trip, and I won’t have to think about it at all. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that I can’t remember one more thing right now.

Scene 2: I have spent an entire Sunday shopping for a dress to my cousin’s wedding. I have earrings and a bag to match, but have struck out on shoes. En route to the grocery store, I consider the week ahead and realize I have work obligations every night. In the produce department, I stop, click on Amazon and order shoes so I can spend the evening with my husband instead of at the mall. I smile and pick up wine to go with dinner. 

Scene 3:  It is lunchtime, and I take a break from my desk and duck in to drugstore to buy a couple of cosmetics. Turns out this location does not carry the solution I need for hard contacts and they are out of the nail polish that I want. A reminder sounds from the smartphone in my purse; I retrieve it and see that I have a meeting back at the office in 15 minutes.  I turn from my calendar to Amazon; it takes me approximately 90 seconds to order the two elusive products.  I can breathe again. 

Scene 4: the bathtub overflows. After mopping up the mess, we discover that the bathroom rug’s rubber backing is disintegrating in the washing machine. My husband pulls handfuls of rubber confetti from the washer and asks me if I want him to go out and look for a new rug. Already online, I smile and tell him that won’t be necessary. Click. The new rug will be Amazoned here in two days.  

I do remember the time before cash stations, when you had to go to the grocery store or bank to cash a check. I remember faithfully spending one night per month at my desk paying bills, painstakingly affixing stamps to each envelope. And I remember window-shopping at the mall with my best friend most every weekend. What I cannot remember is how I ever found the time to do any of this.

Once, I enjoyed my weekly run to the grocery store—but that was back in the days when you could shop at one grocery store for all your food and toiletries. Then the neighborhood store closed, and life has never been the same. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for me to hit one store for produce, one for packaged goods, another for earthy-crunchy goodies like cashew butter, and yet another for toiletries. 

At least my Amazon account greets me by name. 

That’s not the only way life has gotten more complicated. An ever-expanding menu of choices, from TV channels to take-out menus, means no down-time from decision-making.  And automation and technology have created their own roster of demands on our time.  (Remember the evening you didn’t check Facebook, and missed learning that your friend’s husband was in the hospital?)  With the instantaneous availability of information comes the companion need for rapid-fire response—whether it’s a request from the office or your mother-in-law. 

Last night, when I laid my head on my pillow, a ticker-tape of the week’s pending chores scrolled across my mind. Get a shingles vaccine. Order that new book for Fathers Day. Buy more calcium tablets. Send that wedding gift. Pick up sunscreen.

I can get the shingles vaccine at lunch tomorrow. As for the rest of it? Amazon to the rescue. 

Click, click, click, click. 

And I sleep. 



Linda 2014
Empty nester Linda Haase considers lessons learned and progress made in her lifetime, through a Jewish woman’s lens.... Read More


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