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Unnecessary necessities

September 7, 2010

With two weeks to go until I jet off to France for nine months, I’ve been slowly compiling a packing list. By doing so, I feel like I’m being productive, instead of actually doing anything about packing. Topping the list are various electronics: my laptop, iPod and mobile. Like so many other things in life, these items have become indispensable…but only once I acquired them.

I’m relatively new to the laptop scene; I survived high school and 5 semesters of university without one. Yet since I got it last October, I couldn’t imagine life without it. Likewise, without the iPod train journeys would not be the same, if not intolerable. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to remember a time when at least half the people in the carriage weren’t wearing headphones. It’s the same story with gaining my drivers licence: life without a car and the ability to drive it anywhere seems utterly inconvenient. And I think that is key to all of this.

With my laptop I could research and write my essay at the same time at the library, instead of taking notes and writing it up later. A mobile phone’s convenience is a no-brainer. Once I get used to easy living, there’s no turning back. Ultimately, that is the entire point of technology: to make life easier. Why slave over a log fire you constructed in your backyard when a microwave can do the same thing and more?

The trouble is I’ve become so reliant on all of these things that it’s difficult to do anything without them. Train journeys seem unbearably long if I can’t listen to The Cure. I worry when my phone is flat that people are trying to contact me. And I think I speak for all of us when I say that without the internet, we curl up into quivering foetal positions. These necessities are totally unnecessary until you actually have them. A bath towel, however, is completely necessary. I better add that to the list.

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