By Adam Drake
To imagine a world where technology doesn’t exist is mind-numbing. Such a world would be similar to The Walking Dead mixed with the Amish. And due to my fear of zombies and hand-churning butter, I don’t want to face such a situation.
And yet, I’ve lived in that world. I spent plenty of years not integrating with technology, before my parents brought home a dial-up modem and the screeching sounds of AOL stumbled into our house. The Sweat Life editors have asked me to imagine our current world, without current technology, and how our days would be affected — zombies and all.
I wake up to the sound of my analog alarm clock and whatever is playing on the radio. Clumsily, I rummage through my drawers and find suitable workout clothes. In the darkness, I probably end up grabbing one of my wife’s shirts, which means nothing but ridicule from my teammates once I get to the boathouse with “Jem and the Holograms” across my chest.
I get pulled over on my way to practice. Nothing warned me of speed traps, so I blow past a cop and get nailed for reckless driving. Being late to practice means my coach is angry, and I won’t get to have control over the radio while we do our morning weight workout.
We listen to the radio, commercials and all, for an hour and a half. No intricately designed playlists created to drive us forward while we workout. No, we’re at the mercy of some guy who calls himself “Snazzy J” and plays songs by kids half our age.
I’m in the shower with nothing to entertain me but the random ingredients listed on the back of my shampoo bottle. What the hell is ginkgo biloba and why am I putting it in my hair? I have no idea what time it is, what the weather is like, or what Natalie Morales is wearing today.
I enthusiastically order my “usual” at Starbucks – wait, they have Starbucks in this scenario, but no email? It’s suspect, but I’ll go with it. I have to take out my wallet and use actual currency to pay for my drink.
My desk is covered with small pieces of paper. One tells me to call Amy and tell her about the latest pitch we’re working on. Another is from my wife, who has taken to drawing a picture of a kitten with, “Awww. So cute. LOL!” written next to it. I rummage through a few more before taking out my typewriter, and begin work on a new campaign. I spell a few words incorrectly, misplace a number of commas, and forget to include a paragraph. So I rip the paper out of the typewriter and start over again.
Two hours and fifteen redos later, and it’s time to head to the water cooler. Bob asks me if I caught the latest thriller on ABC last night. I tell him I haven’t. He suggests that I spend the next six months waiting for it until it reruns. I pull out a pad of paper and a pencil and write the name of the show down. Bob then takes out his wallet and unfolds a few pictures of his kids playing soccer. I tell him they’re adorable. He asks if I would tell him that exact same thing on the board he’s placed outside his office. So Bob and I head down the hall and find a bulletin board affixed with more pictures of his kids. I pull out a piece of paper and a thumbtack and write, “Great photo!” on it, and pin it just under the picture. Bob takes out his own piece of paper and draws a “thumbs-up” sign; he then sticks it next to mine.
For lunch, I head to a bodega and grab a newspaper. I want to catch up on the world news and sports scores over a mediocre sandwich. My fingers and my food quickly get covered with newspaper ink, as I dive deeper into the day’s events.
A few co-workers stop by to ask if I want to go to a local bar for some after-work drinks. I ask them if the bar is any good. They don’t know because they’ve never been, but a friend of a friend went once and gave it three and a half stars and said it was perfect for after work drinks, though the crowd can get loud. I take my own car, but get lost along the way. Luckily, I find a payphone with the yellow pages and call up the bar to ask for directions.
My wife is angry. She’s right, I should have asked to use the bar’s phone or found a payphone to call her and let her know I’d be home late. At this point, I realize it’s best to go home and mend some fences. As I’m heading out, a co-worker snaps a photo of me, and says they’ll give me a copy once they finish the roll and get it developed.
I smooth things over with my wife once home. Before heading to bed, I rewind several VHS tapes to drop off at Blockbuster tomorrow, and manually turn down the thermostat.
Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and pretend this entire day never happened. In the end, I’d rather fight zombies than not have access to the technology I hold so dear.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.