Chinese Version

When we drove from Mammoth Cave National Park to Smoky Mountains National Park, we saw horse-drawn wagons on roads a couple of times. Amish Wagon in KentuckyWe knew they were Amish and, as we passed by, we curiously glanced at them. One time, it was a bearded man with a hat (see picture) and another time it was a young lady. Although I didn’t know much about Amish but I was aware of their idiosyncrasy of avoiding technology such as automobiles, electricity, etc. I remember thinking, “Hey, that is a cool way to travel; and I wonder if they need a driver license or has to be 16 to ride.” If they don’t, that seems to be a great way of getting around the laws.

Later on when we were on the East Coast, we ran into them a few times, on roads and at National Mall, Washington DC. In DC, there were a group of Amish folks there; wondered where they parked their wagons? Since then, I read a little bit about the Amish and found that they don’t mean to avoid technology like it is evil; they want to isolate themselves from the influence of other societies, shunning TV, radio, phone, etc. I guess that is one way to live. This got me thinking of the current technology trends.

iPod is a popular item. I see a lot of people carrying them but they are not cheap. I wonder why people buy them: because they really need iPods or because they are popular? I don’t own an iPod because I am afraid to lose it and I need time alone with my thought. I barely have enough time to be in a situation where I can be free of all out media attacks, TV, radio, internet, CD/DVD player… why pay a few hundred dollars to rob myself the freedom? But maybe I am turning into an Amish, resisting the latest technology, just like they resist television. Have I become close-minded? I hope not. Hopefully my 4 computers would spare me the label.

Now there is a 500 dollars iPhone on the market. Are you going to fork over your hard earned money? I know I am not. I really don’t need to be so connected all the time that I won’t know what to do if I am not at home or at office. Even my cell phone is secondhand that my friend didn’t need anymore. Maybe there is some Amish in me after all or I am cheap or I am just not cool enough or I am short-sighted. Oh well, at least my kids are still too young to judge me. I cannot imagine my life without a car: just this trip would have taken us at least a few years to complete; maybe someday people cannot imagine their life without an iPhone.

On the other hand, if I didn’t have a car, I would have found a job closer to home (or became unemployed) so I could ride my bike (or ride my horse) to work–be fitter and environmentally friendlier. And take a few years break for vacations: that wouldn’t be bad at all.

Let me know if you ever see an Amish carry an iPod or an iPhone.