Technology – Help or Hindrance?

Our dishwasher is broken.

It finally gave up this weekend, which was most inconvenient as we had guests. For some months now I have seen that the end was near – the wheels kept falling off the baskets and the top basket regularly fell out altogether. Our landlord visited a couple weeks ago and I mentioned the trouble we were having, and asked if the wheels could be replaced.

The technician sent last week expressed his surprise at the age of the machine – I believe it is about 30 years old – and advised that it would probably have to be replaced. I nodded sagely while inwardly doing doing a happy dance. I only wish that the landlord would replace the whole ugly green kitchen while he was at it, but think that this may not happen for another 30 years.

While we are waiting (and this is Switzerland, we could be waiting some time) I am back in the late 70s, piling dishes up in the sink until I have time to wash them. It annoys me, that the kitchen always looks untidy unless I constantly wash dishes.

The actual washing of the dishes is not too bad. When our guests were here, we would wash and dry the dishes together while having a chat. It reminded me of my childhood when doing the dishes was a time to discuss the events of the day with my mother, or irritate my brother. I recall twirling the dishtowel around then flicking it at each other then wailing, “Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum!” when he did the same back.

It has also reminded me of how lucky we are today, to have all the large and small gadgets that make life so much easier. Not having a dishwasher for a couple of weeks is a pain, I could not imagine having to wash clothes by hand. Or not having a phone. Not to mention the million ways that having a computer and internet access eases day to day life.

Whether it is keeping in touch with friends and family far away, shopping for groceries or even a new TV, checking out the opening hours of the local supermarket or planning a holiday, the internet has changed our lives. I would get more of the housework done without the distraction of Mumsnet and Twitter, but then I don’t have to physically go to the bank or the shops, but can do so much from the comfort of my own home.

Expat life is both easier and harder because of the internet. Easier because we can skype and email friends back home, and finding the nearest DIY store/paediatrician/dentist but there is also the danger that we do not go out and make new friends if we are spending all day chatting to old friends online. Finding the balance is important.

In order of importance, my list of necessary gadgets for modern life is:

– washing machine (although if I have a car, I could search for a local laundromat)
– computer / internet
– iPhone
– dishwasher
– hoover
– tumble dryer

What about you? What modern gadget could you not live without?


  • MmeLindt

    I know. My Mother-In-Law had a manual machine when I met her. They only changed to an automatic when manuals were getting scarce. What a faff!

  • MmeLindt

    Was I really? I must be remembering the washing of pots then.

    Landlord called today. Dishwasher has been ordered and should be here in the next week or two. Yay.

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