Cell phones, PDA’s, laptop computers, and ipods. The conveniences of modern life. The results of our ever advancing technology. We can talk on the phone, send e-mail, listen to music, surf the web, and plan our schedule no matter where we may be…until the battery runs out. For all the brilliance and fun our technology has given us, we are still almost as tethered to an outlet as we used to be. We have briefs moments of freedom sometimes lasting a whole day before we have to find a safe place to re-charge our batteries. We’re almost like energy vampires who have to return to their coffins at sundown, only we have to return to our outlets at the end of each day. (With the recent popularity of Twilight I had to throw in the vampire mention. It will help me with the search engines) There are even those of us who feel lost, paralyzed if one of their electronic devices runs out of juice.
Charging cords have become the bane of my existence. I have a file cabinet drawer just for charging cords. Part of my nightly routine before bed is making sure that all of my electronic devices are plugged in to charge for the night. (I’m sure some of you ladies do the same) With the advent of the electric car some people have to plug in their ride every night too. Some people tuck in their kids. I tuck in my ipod, my two cell phones, my laptop, and my PDA. When I travel one of my big concerns is remembering all my charging cords. Airport security almost always goes through my checked baggage. I always open my suitcase to find that little pre-printed note that says, “We invaded your privacy and rifled through all your personal belongings. Sorry if we broke anything. Have a nice day.” I imagine that they scan the luggage, see all kinds of electrical cords and wonder if I’m building a bomb, so they have to check it out.
As much fun as all of this charging cord nonsense is I yearn for the day, that’s right, I said yearn, when electricity will be available for free, from the air. That our devices will become so energy efficient that they will be able to run indefinitely by passively absording static electricity in their environment the way our cell phones search for a signal. Of course the increase in incidents of human spontaneous combustion will be a little disturbing, but all progress has it’s price.