We achieved a new record in my household yesterday. Fraser was playing Peggle on the Xbox, Sarah was playing on my iPod, Marie was using the old laptop to buy furniture for a virtual bear, Lewis was tending to the needs of his pet monster on the desktop machine and I was in the kitchen hiding from all the bleepy noises while surfing the web on the 'new' laptop. All five of us were online at once.
This was a freaky realisation. We may well have reached a turning point in the history of human society. From here on in, cyberspace is going to take over. Another six months and we'll all be brains in jars, happily interacting via our avatars as they fly around electronic worlds in their personal hover cars while wearing tinfoil jumpsuits...
Or maybe not. The freakiest thing was actually discovering we had enough internet-enabled gadgets to make this possible. Not only that but we could have had several friends round and got them logged on in some fashion as well (provided our flaky wireless router didn't melt). That's quite a lot of gizmos, many of which will probably be out of date by a week on Thursday, if they're not already.
This got me to thinking. We already have a pile of ageing technology that we don't use very much anymore - Leapsters, an N64, three varieties of Game Boy, a tangled nest of headphones, an entire box of various cables that will probably come in useful one day, another box of cables that probably won't, two printers, a tub of floppy disks, speakers, keyboards, controllers, goodness knows what. Most of it still sort of works. Some of it is very handy on occasion. A lot of it is irreplaceable and yet much of it no one would take if we were giving it away. None of it can be legally binned.
It sits in cupboards and on shelves. At some point, it will end up in the loft. Once the loft is full, I'll have to start making furniture out of it.
You know how old people have random ornaments and photos everywhere? Things that are not worth selling but are too good to hand in at the charity shop? Stuff they inherited, stuff with sentimental value, stuff that their friends have secretly been hiding amongst all the clutter since 1987 in order to clear some space in their own homes?
Our generation will be different. We're not going to have display cabinets full of crystal and porcelain, we're going to have plastic crates full of power adapters and chargers. My kids will dread the thought of anything happening to me simply because it will mean they'll have to deal with my sofa made of inkjet printers and then poke around under the stairs where old Xboxes run wild and have strung up a web of USB wires to snare the unwary.
I don't think your lot will be fooled by your senile ramblings about how collectible your 1st generation iPad is either. We should maybe look into our recycling options.
Then again, if Great Aunt Edith spots a space in my house, she might try and palm off her wedding china on me. Perhaps it would be best just to arrange the technology in a tasteful display. I'll go do that now...
Yours in a woman's world,