Progress is great, isn’t it? Labour-saving devices all over the place – you name it and there’s a machine to do it for you.
Push a button and your clothes get clean, flick a switch and the dishes get done, turn a dial for dinner and the keypad for exactly the kind of coffee that you want. Easy-peasy. My house is packed with them, so, by rights, I should have hardly any boring necessary stuff left to do.
Where, then, is all the time that these expensive and clever contraptions have saved me?
And, by the same token, if they’re so labour saving, why, then, I am utterly knackered after a day of using them?
I think I’ve finally worked out where some of the minutes are going. Progress is stealing them, that’s what. And here’s what it does with them – my time is wasted:
Dithering by the recycling bins. It takes ages to decide which bin it goes in – is it clean enough and does the lid go too. It’s tough. If I’ve got a recyclable takeaway food container that I can’t clean because it’ll go soggy and a polystyrene lid with a set of plastic cutlery, a crisp packet and a tea bag with a paper tag on them, which bins do I use?
Untangling wires. Hundreds of hours go here. I’m not sure if anyone has investigated the magnetic properties of headphones or the self-weaving property of charger cables, but they should.
Worrying about getting the best deal. Everyone else, it seems, can find something that’s cheap, beautiful and available when they want it. I can’t. It takes days exacerbated by sleeplessness caused by the certainty that I haven’t searched hard enough.
Waiting for things to load. I’ll be all fired up, I know what I have to say, to whom and how long it’ll take – then I can’t get a connection, or my amnesiac phone has forgotten the password, or the site won’t load. But which time there’s something shiny to look at.
Trying to decide what to watch/read/listen to. Time was you made do with one of three channels (cue teenage eye-rolling), the books or papers that were in the house and whatever you managed to tape from The Top Forty on Sunday evening. Now a whole evening can be squandered by an inability to choose between Orange Is The New Black and The Great British Bake Off.
Catching up. There’s no chance to shrug your shoulders and say: “Heck, I missed it, never mind.” Or words to that effect. Everything is still there waiting for you.
Stalking. “I wonder whatever happened to Thingy…,” and now you’re on a quest to discover what colour their front door is, what awards their kids have won and whether or not they really do look like their profile picture. It’s easy to spend far longer Googling an acquaintance than you ever spent in their company.
Learning revealing insights about yourself. What does your soup preference/hair colour/toenail length say about you? If it says I’ve got talking soup/hair/toes then I should bother, otherwise, not.
Investingating hashtags. #moderatelywellknownbutpastitactor lists on Twitter, then you need to know if he’s dead (presuming you remember he’s still alive) don’t you? Of course, then you need to find out what he’s done to deserve the flibbertigibbet attention of the internet for this minute.
Saying happy birthday to people you’ve never met.
Falling for clickbait headings.
Getting cross with self for falling for clickbait headings.
Searching for the thing you were certain you’d bookmarked, then having to remember what you were googling when you found it.
Ignoring photos of people’s lunch.