I forgot my purse. By the time I realized it, I was 40 miles away from where it lay nestled unobtrusively in an empty file drawer at work. I had already been home, packed my kids in the car, and whisked them off to accomplish a flurry of errands that would finish with dinner at a restaurant. It wasn’t until we pulled into my son’s haircut venue that I realized the omission. Plans for the evening shattered, and we prepared to go home and sulk.
That lasted about 30 seconds.
My son had his debit card with him, so I sent him on his way to his haircut. I then took off with my daughter to unload half my closet at the dry cleaner while I mentally regrouped. When we returned 15 minutes later, I had a plan.
As soon as my son’s high-and-tight was complete, we headed to the neighboring bank and its ATM. Although my debit card was safely snuggled in my absent pocketbook, his was inches away in his wallet. Of course, his bank balance was likely not enough to cover dinner for our little threesome, but now comes the fun part.
By the time we pulled up to the ATM, I had already whipped out my phone, logged into my mobile banking app, and transferred money from my checking account to my son’s. I covered his haircut and the amount he was about to withdraw for our dinner. Two minutes and a few twenties later, we pulled away from the bank and started negotiating for our respective favorite restaurants. Crisis averted; our plans were saved.
I can’t stop thinking about that evening. At first I was awed by the flexibility afforded by electronic technology. (And why, oh why, can’t I just pay from my phone if I can move money around with it?) Look how far we’ve come. Eventually, though, I came back around to the fact that even with a full palette of digital options, they’re all worthless without the ability to string them together into something useful. They are simply tools; we still need craftsmen (and women) to effectively put them to work.
No matter what the technology, it is no substitute for reasoning and critical thinking skills. In fact, as technology advances, we have to move our minds along with it in order to effectively use the tools at hand. We have to keep up.
P.S. Although we had a great time at our dinner out, we would have had a great time at home, too. We’re cool like that.