After a long and particularly frustrating day of dealing with the marvels of the modern technological age that included a jammed printer, replacement of a crank position sensor in the Jeep, learning the tricks of a new cell phone, figuring out settings on the digital camera, issues with the electronic signature pad at the office, and Internet interruptions, I was closing out the evening by writing a feature on the dramatic evolution of automotive technology during the first decades of the 20th century, and the societal ramifications that resulted. I was in the midst of verifying some information by reading an article published in a 1926 trade journal when an unrelated story about, “Modern technology creating a wide array of health issues and social crisis…” grabbed my attention.

By the time I had read that story for the third time, my mind was swirling with thoughts and questions. Most every aspect of life in the modern era is vastly improved from the time of this publication. Life spans, standard of living, quality of life, medical advancements that enhance healthy aging are all manifestations of this.
Even though my first writing endeavors were on a 1948 Underwood typewriter, I can not imagine taking on the task of writing a Route 66 encyclopedia with that instrument and stacks of carbon paper. The needed research, without the use of the Internet, would be a logistical challenge worthy of the seven labors of Hercules.
Still, what has been the cost of this progress? Is it possible that we have sacrificed the enjoyment of life for these advances? Are all these gadgets, as well as time saving and time wasting devices, really needed or have we allowed ourselves to be sold on the idea that these luxuries are necessities?

The next morning I awoke with a fascinating series of thoughts in my head. Would it be possible to slow the ever increasing pace of life through the rediscovery of the fast vanishing attributes of self reliance?

Would it be possible to carefully select a few of the manifestations of technological advancement from each decade of the 20th and 21st century to create a lifestyle where these wonders enhanced the quality of life rather than filled it will cold, empty, frustration? Would it be possible to do this in an urban setting? Is it possible there would also be financial rewards to such an endeavor?

It was with these thoughts in mind that I made a quick mental list of where to begin this experiment in blending the attributes of a hybrid Amish order with the techno geek. The checklist quickly took shape – cancel satellite television, dust off the bicycle for commuting, purchase a subscription to Mother Earth News, and find an easy to repair and fuel efficient vehicle for primary transportation.

The latter idea was spawned by the stunning costs recently incurred for the repair of the Jeep Cherokee. It is also the idea that led to the unshakable conviction we needed a “Tin Lizzy”, a Model T, or Model A, for our local transportation, something I have yet to convince my dearest friend of.
Work has begun on the transformation. The satellite television is no more. It has been replaced by a Saturday evening walk to the Hastings Book, Music, and Video store for the rental of a double feature.
Transportation to work, at least four days a week, is by bicycle or on foot. The magazine subscription is complete.
The adventure in time travel is well underway. Updates will be provided, unless of course I get a bit carried away and discover that electricity is highly over rated.

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