Two weeks ago, I went to mass on the solemnity of the feast day of the Three Kings. During the homily, the priest mentioned that if Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar have existed today, they would no longer be lost in the desert. There wouldn’t be a need to resort to constellations to find out exactly where they are. One of them could simply log on to Google Maps using their mobile device and they will find their way in an instant. The irony here, though, is that if they actually had done so, they would no longer be the wise individuals they purport to be for they would simply be like the rest of us: People who get all of our answers to our everyday problems from the comfort provided by technology and a reliable network connection.
Today, things like getting lost and finding the right way are actually non-issues. These have become problems only of people who existed in the past. Or those who exist in the present but choose to live in the past. There are certain inconveniences of the past that have been rendered obsolete by the advancements that we’ve had in technology.
Tip of your tongue. Probably, one of the most common human experiences is not knowing the right word or name you need for a specific moment.
What is the word that means to put things side by side?
What do you call that dessert with thick coconut milk, sago, kamote, saging na saba, and those soft, little marshmallow-like balls?
What was that movie where Goma and Mega were husband-and-wife, got separated, then got together again?
Who was that “little person” who starred in action movies in the 70s?
I guess the type of questions that suddenly pop in my head or during the conversations I have with my friends might be far from the pretentious intellectual questions typical law students fuss over. I am sure, however, that all of us must’ve had moments and questions like these. We all have had those mundane questions which begged to be answered, to which our reply would most likely have been: “Nasa dulo na ng dila ko!” I haven’t had a moment like that for quite a while now, though. Unless I stubbornly wanted to figure it out on my own, Google has always been ready, willing, and able to read the tip of my tongue for me, given the right mix of key words, of course.
Weng-weng: The "little person" action star from the Filipino movies of the 1970s
How to. When I was a kid, my Mom wanted me to learn how to play the piano so she sent me to piano lessons. I then wanted to learn how to draw and paint, so my parents sent me to art lessons. When my Lola wanted to learn how to boogie, waltz, cha-cha, and do a side of Macarena, she got herself a young D.I. (dance instructor) to give her ballroom dancing lessons. That was how non-academic things were learned before: by enrolling into a class and attending several sessions. Of course, that meant money out of the pocket and time spent for something that could more possibly turn out as an empty undertaking. Nowadays, however, learning something new would no longer have to cost us thousands of pesos or hours of painful and arduous training. On a whim, we could simply go on to You Tube and watch a “how to” video. All of a sudden things like doing the dougie, picking a lock, and getting washboard abs don't seem like rocket science.
Top chef. In high school, we had a cooking class from which, as I remember, learned how to bake cream puffs. I do remember, too, that the ones we prepared tasted awesome. I have since kept all of our recipe sheets from that class, hoping that I could somehow recreate a dish or two as how we were taught. Recreating those crinkles, brownies, and oatmeal choco-chip cookies was not a problem. However, I seem to have forgotten how to make cream puffs and have since veered away from such a complex recipe. It was not until a year ago when I decided to look up online recipes. To my amazement, not only was I treated to a variety of easy-to-do cream puff recipes, I was given tips in a sort of baking-cream-puffs-for-dummies kind of way. I learned exactly what it meant to “mix until you form a ball” and “add eggs, mix until good emulsion”. Mac and cheese? Nacho cheese and salsa? Aglio et olio pasta with shrimp? With the internet and a bit of effort, we all won’t have to wonder how to make amazing dishes. There virtually are no secret recipes anymore. Now, if technology had a sure-fire solution to washing the dishes, I’d be set.
It has been two thousand and twelve years since the Magi got lost. It has been a long time don’t you think? It’s refreshing to know that little everyday pedestrian dilemmas people had before, like getting lost, learning how to dance, and preparing dinner have become less difficult, if not completely brainless and effortless.
Ma. Eliza Christine Gomez, Entry #5