There are those who celebrate technology, and those who mourn it. I fall somewhere in the middle. One of the selling points for our house was keyless entry. The great thing about it is you never have to worry about forgetting your keys. The bad thing is that batteries don’t like cold weather. The former owners of our house seem to have had it even less together than we do, They had no instructions or emergency keys for these electronic locks. So it would happen on a cold, blustery weekend morning we would find ourselves locked out of our most expensive possession. Now, you have to understand that this “well-maintained” house—so claimed by the not-inexpensive inspector—has turned into a money pit. The list of derelict pieces and appliances grows weekly and we haven’t even paid off the roof yet. Emergency locksmiths, I now know, earn their keep.
As I stood on the porch in the gusting wind, waiting in a thin jacket (we were not out for a long trip) for someone I would pay handsomely to break into my house, I considered technology. If you can afford to keep up with it, it must be great. If, say, electronic keypads were solar, wired to panels on the roof so that the batteries never died, that would be fantastic. Even a key would be an advance on a day like this. So once our teeth stopped chattering and we added yet another creditor to our growing list, I thought how that very morning my computer told me it needed a systems upgrade. “Didn’t you just have one?” I asked, almost out loud. I know what it is to be a servant. My thoughts wandered, as they frequently do, to The Matrix. When the machines take over, their problem is battery power. Since we scorched the sky, they began using us as wet cells.
Later in the day, for cheap entertainment, we went to a local parade. Among the many vehicles on display were old cars and tractors. Tractors that even I might have a chance of understanding because they were merely open engines on a frame with seats and large wheels. This was technology that fed people rather than preventing them from entering their houses. I couldn’t help but notice that they started with keys. There’s a reason that the key has always been a potent symbol. Its simple technology leads to hidden wonders. And on a cold morning those hidden wonders might well include your own house.