A Thank You to Technical Persons of all Kingdoms and Species

I’m on Flight 1188, squished up against the window in seat 6F. I watch the other planes take off ahead of the one I’m on, amazed as they make the vertical climb and then level off while billowing black smoke at a few thousand feet before climbing again. It’s our turn and as our multi-ton metal tube of flying prowess goes aloft, it dawns on me what an awesome, most intriguing time we live in. My Don Julio margarita has kicked in, and I’m feeling especially sentimental and thankful for technology folks. You need to know this. Yes, you.

I am simply in awe of the various technologies that have enabled an easy and comfortable journey home, and this journey is but a small slice, a skinny component of my rather technology-robust day: 

- When I turned in my rental car this afternoon, a person with a handheld gadget took in my information and spit out a receipt, which I also received via email. I can report this to my client through an electronic invoice and get a payment via direct deposit from my bank.

- I had brisket tacos and a tres leches cake at Cantina Laredo in the Dallas airport. I'll hop over to my favorite ratings site to give it five stars. My AMEX will be charged and paid via some brilliant banking technology.  My calorie-counting app will send me all sorts of alerts (email, facebook and texts, oh my!) tomorrow about how I can eliminate the next-day carb and sugar puffiness. An ad from my beauty supply storewill serve to entice me to click on the newest anti-puff cream.

- I rode SkyLink to my gate. The thing drives itself! It is a bit scary at times (it accelerates rather strongly!) but I secretly relish in pulling G’s from gate to gate all the while worrying that a sensor might go awry and send the thing flying from its tracks. I flash back to when I was a kid, when my parents took me to Disney/Epcot in 1988. I rode the monorail to the park and remember everyone commenting on how cool that was and how it would be the way of the future. I didn’t understand that prediction at the time, but remember being quite impressed by the fact that we seemed to be floating in the air. Today, I traveled in three minutes by a driverless train in what would have taken me 40 minutes to walk.

- A nice airline worker scans my ticket with a red laser and beep! – I’m confirmed on the flight and sink into my seat laden with gadgetry, buttons and controls. I’ve come full circle in my thoughts, in awe of the planes taking off before mine and am excited to return home. The fact that our pilot knows that we’re at 37,000 feet is just mind-boggling.  The fact that he, along with the airport tower and the aircraft itself, can land us safely is a seeming miracle. The fact that I will text my husband a location at which to pick me up is just so cool, and so convenient. My message seems to fly through the air and land on his phone… As I get off the plane and find my land legs, rest assured my luggage will be scanned and loaded onto the belt, waiting for me at carousel 37. My GPS will guide me home, and my security system will ensure a restful night. 

It’s so easy to come by criticisms of technology these days. The iPhone 5 has a new charging mechanism and now we have to go buy a new cable (the nerve!). McAfee went crazy in Belize! Facebook IPO!? It seems that our tech news feeds can resemble the OK! Magazine of nerd entertainment. Starbucks dark roast, click over to Silicon Valley News, and indulge in a bit of ‘ha! I knew it!’ techie schadenfreude. Yet if one stops for only a nanosecond, she quickly realizes how technology thinks for us, warns us, helps us, connects us, sells to us and guides us. It’s overwhelming and convenient having a binary big brother to help me through the day. And you are behind this – the developer, the researcher, the tester, the analyst – the hidden faces behind these life-enriching technologies. Each one of you is contributing toward advancing humankind in some way, and that should not go unnoticed or unmentioned or overshadowed by negative news. I applaud you and look forward to the next year, the next decade, and I hope that I get to bear witness to the next century of your innovations (so keep me alive until them, m’kay?).  It is truly a wonderful, intriguing, hopefully suspenseful time in which to live. THANK YOU for your dedication and advances in turning 1’s and 0’s into stuff that makes our lives easier. Technology – the ‘invisibles’ that you create, tinker with and test every day – enriches our lives.

Keep up the good struggle and know that the world does appreciate you, in spite of what sometimes awaits you in your inbox. Keep your chin up and know that neither bureaucracy, politics, project plans or product steering committees can hold down what is inside you, your potential for great ideas and clever gadgets. Keep it coming, and know that you are truly appreciated. Thank you for getting me home safely. Thank you for returning me home to my husband and my dogs. Thank you for the ad that entices me to buy face cream. Just… thank you.