I have a dishwasher.
OK, not a world-changing revelation. But in the last 10 years of living on my own, it’s the first dishwasher I’ve ever had. It’s a technological advancement. No more wrinkly fingers, no more dirty plates.
I’m moving this week from my Kalispell apartment complex to a small – surprisingly affordable – home in Whitefish. The house does not have the dishwasher.
In my profession I have had to accept the fact that I am in some respects a slave to the technology of the time. In high school it was learning how to use my Pentax K-1000. In college it was developing equipment, film scanners and a Nikon F-100. Then, in the professional world, it’s trying to stay on to top of the digital revolution and new ways of delivering content.
Professionally there is always a piece of equipment between the event and myself. It’s the nature of photography. Maybe a better way to put it is: I use technology to see and share the world around me. This is not a bad thing, but sometimes I think technology can act as a barrier to our surroundings.
Three years ago, I decided I was a talented lawn architect and I put in a stone patio in the backyard. I learned two things: I, in no way, should be allowed to attempt to harness the power of shovel and stone and I love digging in the dirt.
Although the work is terribly strenuous, there is something comforting and relaxing about literally getting your hands dirty. Easing the spade into the dark Montana soil. Sifting through the black earth to remove rocks and roots. Laboring for hours over the flagstone puzzle while your back aches from moving the pieces into place. And when I step back to look at my masterpiece the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment – even if the surface is too uneven to level a table or chair.
I do get a yard with my new homestead. I learned my lesson from the patio incident but I still envision an Eden-like summer garden with herbs, flowers and a raspberry bush. True, I don’t get the dishwasher. But if history has taught me anything, I might just enjoy the time after a meal even more. Filling the sink with suds. Immersing my bare hands in the warm water. Solemnly and in a Zen-like trance rinsing each piece of silverware.
I love technology. It can be freeing and I embrace with open arms the new world of storytelling I get to explore as a journalist. But I still need time, where technology is an aside, and I can viscerally connect directly to the world around me.