A while back, the battery in my key fob died. This didn’t bother me a whole lot, I just plucked the spare fob from my desk drawer and carried on. I’m back to being bothered, though, because the battery in my spare fob died three days ago.
My ancient, battered pickup truck didn’t have key fobs. Everything opened and locked with the ignition key. In high school, it didn’t seem that difficult to use the key for everything–I never left the truck unlocked and only managed to lock my keys in it once. Now, my car has been left unlocked for days, because I can’t remember that clicking the fob doesn’t work. It was a sad spectacle in the parking lot of the local mall yesterday while I ran back and forth, unlocking the passenger door, locking the car, unlocking the car so I could open the trunk, locking the car, unlocking the car, locking the car again… all because one little device with four simple buttons didn’t work and I needed to get the stroller from out of the back.
Let’s think, briefly, about mobile phones. There was a study published a few days ago that found 66% of mobile phone users in the UK experienced severe anxiety when they were without their phones. There’s even a name for it—“nomophobia”, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.
Consider now the contents of your wallet. When was the last time you stepped into a bank? How many people carry cash anymore? I don’t mean spare change for the parking meter; I mean actual paper money, at least twenty dollars. What would you do without your bankcard? Is your paycheck direct-deposited or do you loyally pick it up from the HR department every two weeks?
What has humanity come to? Today it’s my key fob, but tomorrow it might be my iPhone. I’ll really lose it then, and probably I’ll end up committed to an institution, babbling away about how I really need to check my Twitter. My husband cracked the magnetic strip on his debit card a couple of weeks ago, and he just switched over to using a credit card because he can’t be bothered to actually show up at the bank. We’ve already shown how hopeless I am without a working key fob, and it’s not even as though the important bit was broken. A dead battery didn’t completely disable me from locking the car or opening the trunk, but it made those simple tasks so damningly compl—no.
I refuse to admit that locking my car without a fob is complicated and time-consuming. That’s rubbish. Thousands of years of evolutionary progress and I can’t unlock a car without a button? Stupid.
This is by no means a call to ditch the technology and get back to our roots—I think key fobs, smart phones, bank cards and the like are all wonderful. It’s just that we shouldn’t ever need it, or at least not need it so much that we have to make up phobias to suffer from when our phones are out of service. A lack of technology should only pose a minor inconvenience. It’s like people who call AAA to change a tire—everything you need is right there in the trunk of your car, so why aren’t you getting out to change it yourself? The only time I’ve ever needed to call AAA was when my transmission spewed itself out all over the road, which is an actual emergency that renders the car un-drivable. A flat tire is an inconvenience, like leaving your phone at home or needing to pay cash.
I stopped at the store on my way home today and picked up a two-pack of batteries for the key fobs. A couple of minutes with a screwdriver, and I’ll once again be able to lock the car from inside my house, lazy and complacent. Despite my outrage at being so dependent on the fob, I really need to get back to locking my car.