Is the Internet, high-tech World all that Great, and Learning to hate Toyota

Remember as you read this post that most of communication is nonverbal.  explains why nonverbal communication is important. Briefly, “If you rely solely on spoken words (or texting and/or e-mails) to unearth the intent and meaning of communication with your significant other, you are likely to come up short nearly every time.”

In addition, Good reported on a study conducted at UCLA.  “Nonverbal communication plays a significant role in our lives, as it can improve a person’s ability to relate, engage, and establish meaningful interactions in everyday life.”

That brings me to someone I met recently who I talked to for less than 2 hours. Over the next week that talk triggered fond memories long lost in the archival memory of my mind.

I remembered that as a child I played a lot of Scrabble, Monopoly, card games and other board games with real-live humans. We sat around kitchen tables, on living room floors, and even on the green grass in the front yard.

When I reached high school, I graduated to board games that focused on war, and I spent hours with my friends playing Avalon Hill games reenacting D-Day, the American Civil War, Gettysburg, and Midway.

Right out of high school, I joined the Marines, fought in Vietnam, got married, went to college, and ended up working 60-to-100 hour weeks for decades. That didn’t leave time for the games of my youth until the early 21st century when my stepdaughter was in grade school. I taught her how to play a few card games, Monopoly, chess and Scrabble, but that only lasted a few years for only a few games. There just wasn’t enough time, because the internet and high tech had arrived.

I remembered one Monopoly game with my stepdaughter where I went to jail seven times in a row. Every time I got out of jail, I landed on that square that sent me right back to jail. While I was in Monopoly jail, she bought up almost all the property and after I finally got out of jail I paid her a lot of rent before I went bankrupt and lost the game. There was a lot of groaning and laughter during that game.

Then stepdaughter reached middle school, discovered boys, and lost interested in the board/card games. In high school she added scholastic clubs and sports, and was often gone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. When home, she was in her room most of the time doing school work. When she went to Stanford that was the end of any chance of playing board/card games with anyone. Now she’s married and working her own 60+ hours a week more than 75 miles from where I live, and her lifestyle doesn’t include board games. She calls maybe twice a month for a few minutes each time. She texts. I don’t. I even got rid of my so-called smart phone and took a step back to an old dumb flip phone.

After I left teaching after 30 years, I attempted to play video games and internet chess but that didn’t stick. It wasn’t the same. Something was missing. Even if there was another person playing on the other end of the cable or satellite connection somewhere in the world, I was still alone staring at a computer monitor.  It wasn’t the same as sitting on the floor or around a table playing with real people where we talked and laughed and had a good time.

Back in the early 1980s, I picked up a great habit. I started listening to audio books while I was driving. That started with tape cassettes I checked out of the library and played on the long drive to work and back home.  The cassette player was eventually replaced with a CD player that was a step up, because cassette tapes sometimes jammed and/or unspooled.

This year, I turned in a car I’d owned for almost a decade and leased a 2016 Toyota RAV4 with no CD player. I was told that CD players were old technology, and I could convert my CD’s and load them on a USB thumb drive and play my audio books while I drove.  That turned out to be a dangerous distraction that didn’t always work well. I spent weeks and hundreds of dollars trying different tech options from a portable battery powered CD player, a Sony Walkman, and a wireless tablet computer. They all turned out to be more complicated than the simple CD player in a car’s dash in addition to being a dangerous distraction when I had to take my eyes off the road to use the fancy touch screen to keep the audio book playing. To avoid an accident, that meant I had to drive for miles with no story or pull over to the side of the road or into a lot where I parked to safely navigate that cursed high-tech screen to get the audio book playing again.

Eventually I just gave up and stopped listening to anything. I refuse to pay XM satellite radio for programs I’m not interested in. I want my audio books back and CD players were easier to use than all the other high tech crap replacing that old tech. And forget old fashioned radio. I’m spoiled. Audio books don’t come with static, advertisements, listening to NPR begging for donations, or far-right, conservative hate-radio talk shows spewing racism and lies.

Before the Internet and all this so-called wonderful high tech came along, I always found time to read a book during the day because there weren’t so many time sucking distractions. I even found time to play a card or board game.  When I was still teaching, I hosted a chess club at lunch in my classroom, and it was amazing how the room filled up with children who wanted to sit across a board from another real, live human being who came with non-verbal communication.

What are we giving up for this high tech, internet, virtual world where too many people often find themselves sitting alone in a room interacting with a computer screen and/or someone we probably will never meet? In fact, many of the alleged people we meet on-line often use fake and/or anonymous names and hide who they really are, and without nonverbal language we’ve lost more than half of what it means to communicate with each other face to face.

I will admit that using a word processor to write is a lot easier than using a typewriter or pen or pencil. And during this journey into the world of new tech replacing old, I learned to hate Toyota.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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25 responses to “Is the Internet, high-tech World all that Great, and Learning to hate Toyota”

  1. I just read this . I found now . I worked for Toyota and was a good car before 2013 .


    1. I’ve been driving Toyotas for more than 25 years, and I’m disappointing in Toyota’s decision to limit our choices like the absence of CD’s with the excuse that it is outdated tech when nothing new that is as easy or easier to use has come along as a replacement. I see this as a sign that some corporations like Toyota don’t care what their customers want anymore. That you have to buy what they offer or go fuck yourself. So far, Subaru doesn’t seem to have that attitude, yet, so I plan to take my business to them as soon as I have the money to get out of the new Toyota RAV4 I made the horrible mistake of leasing a few months ago. Meanwhile I do a lot of driving in total silence, and hate it and hate Toyota for causing it to happen by limiting customer choices.

      1. Lloyed . I have been driving Toyotas for more than 14 years I agreed with you the works mistake Toyota made, ensamblan there’s cars different country’s cars than have been stolen the market as Toyota and the principal problem is that Toyota motor companies are in to many countries , now next time buy or lease a Toyota but 100 % made in Japan.
        Toyota hasn’t building cars beside , Japan and the other companies of Toyotas , I have a lithe of knowledge but Toyotas and Lexus are no any more those who leaded the market . After the generation of 2002 ,2003 people are being complained , Toyota Rav 4 2005 to 5 years the Toyota Rav 4 , engine was consuming to many oil , I safe $ 7000 to ny friend because I drove in my 2000 GS 300 , miami to fort Mayer is araund 3 ours trip and my Lexus has 200,000 mikes but with rear traction , the JSG engine is the top 6 in the list of the best ever engine . The # 1 is the the Diesel engine of the Chevorolet Durmast . The fact is Toyota is beinging the best car in Japan . I have no idea how Toyota Car’s quality is going down I has a 2002 Toyota Avalon and the engine blow off and the car has not more than 37 K miles bug in the days Toyotas has the best cars , and Toyota land Cruiser 1978 or so with an 6 in line engine Jc 1srt generations has the record in Gines and the car traveled the works 3 tunes and the owners ore a couples a lady and her husband from swereland . The Jc second generation was for 1996 to 98 . Twins turbo the faster cars llores next car leases a Lexus because the residual value is higher because of that people can paid for a Lexus no much money . The Lexus IS the luxury car Fron Toyota abd is a great car . The Subaru is not a car I Recomended, the Hunday is now the commotion of Toyota , the Toyota canry loss the holder in sakes with the sonata . Any ways I could give some advice how to get rid off your car even if your out side down .

      2. The problem with the CD player has been solved. I found someone, a small business, who replaced the radio from the factory with one that has a CD and it works. Everything else works too. They knew how to link the new radio to the car’s computer. And it works! They also told me that I could have that new radio removed and put in the next car I buy, and they will put the old radio back.

      3. I’m happy for you Lloyed . Have a good night .

  2. PS re: little freezer. Mine has been going strong for several decades, despite frequent moves that dinged it up a bit. xx, mgh

    1. I suspect your little freezer was built before planned obsolescence lowered the recyclable age to 10 years.

      1. Quite possibly but, after coveting mine, a friend bought one 6 years ago that is still going strong – and he is in and out of it ALL the time.

  3. This was great – and I feel your tech-distraction pain! I refuse to text, and am quite close to rolling back from smart phone to flip phone myself.

    FYI – only one of the reasons I believe so strongly in phone coaching is that it forces clients to become conscious of what’s going on when they must deal in words, sighs, etc., rather than relying on visual communication, which is largely unconscious.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    1. Thank you.

      Even if we don’t like all the things technology has flooded the market with, all the distracting gadgets and time suckers, it still helps to know how they work even if in time we can’t remember what we learned about them once we decide something isn’t for us and we abandon it. What’s that old saying – “been there, done that, don’t want to do it again”?

      1. Well, it IS supposed to be good for our brains to make the attempt. 🙂
        xx, mgh

      2. Yes, and we can give the tech industry credit for constantly challenging our brains as they keep replacing perfectly working old tech with new that is often more complex and confusing and distracting and costly. What ever happened to keep it simple? I guess keeping the profits flowing happened.

      3. lol- NOT!

        That’s EXACTLY what happened: biz school grads & marketing mavens run amok. Hateful ideas coming out of the b-schools these days: planned obsolescense.

        WE are old enough to recall those lonely Maytag repairman commercials – meaning that the company took pride in how well their products were designed, how well they functioned without repair, and how long they lasted. I wonder if the kids in our throw-away world today even understand the concept of a repairman, lonely or otherwise. Upgrade and buy new seem to be the watchwords of today.

        What WILL they do once they are living on incomes fixed by what they were able to save when they were receiving a salary and can no longer afford the replacement la ronde?

      4. Precisely. What will addicted consumers do with the tech gadgets that populate their lives when their credit is maxed out and they don’t earn enough to keep replacing them as they become obsolete or stop working? Who will be able to keep up with the latest tech fads? Who will be able to pay the bill for monthly internet access or smart phone use.

        For instance, every automated job means one less job for a human worker, and the corporate world is on the fast track to automate as many jobs as possible evidently totally unaware that they are signing their own termination date when the day comes that there aren’t enough human consumers with jobs and money to buy the planned obsolescent products the corporations/factories keep churning out. I read recently that new refrigerators are built to last about 10 years and mattresses 8 years.

      5. OMG – even inexpensive mattresses used to last 20 years before they simply had to be replaced. My parents might have kept the same ‘fridge forever were it not for the increasing cold storage demands to keep pace with my ravenous teen-aged brothers.

        Scary times we live in today!

      6. LOL

        I was thinking yesterday that I might have to buy a small freezer to keep in the garage. The freezer section of my refrigerator is packed. I have no more room. Costco sells a 3.8 cubic foot freezer for $246.66. I wonder how long it will last. Ten years is only $24.66 annually if the taxes and electricity use are not figured in. Costco says shipping and handling are free.

      7. I did that many years ago, and have never regretted it. It has probably paid for itself by now, allowing me to shop sales and freeze. I also cook twice as much and freeze half, which saves me time.

        During my most recent move, I had a couple of burley moving men hoist it to the top of my ‘fridge to access by small stepladder — for “deep” storage, accessed less frequently. If you must keep yours in the garage, wrap the sides in insulation and lay an insulation “blanket” across the front to keep costs down and increase longevity. Also avoid the self-defrost kind — MUCH more expensive to run.

        The combo of fridge-top freezer and my little guy gives me as much storage space as a small dedicated freezer while it saves me money on running costs. While it’s a pain to do, I only need to defrost it a couple of times a year, max — probably because I’m not in and out of it all the time. I try to keep it full as well – runs less efficiently the emptier it becomes.


      8. Good advice. Thanks. But first I have work to do to make room in the garage. I bought this seriously abused and neglected fixer upper last February. Just to get it tolerable took about three months before I moved in, and there are till a lot of projects left to get the house and yard where I want them.

        Next up, after I finish the floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall cabinets/shelves I’m building from scratch in the family room will be a storage shed to hold my yard maintenance equipment and tools. Then I will move the mower and wheelbarrow along with shovels, etc. out of the garage and into the shed, once its built. Maybe in a month or two, or three, etc. :o)

      9. I feel your pain! When I was younger, I had my heart set on renovating a fixer-upper. However, unless I fall in love with a financially comfortable guy with practical skills and a similar desire (really soon!), I think I need to make friends with renting.

      10. I wouldn’t be in this house if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m eligible for a VA loan.

      11. Good to know that the VA still offers some decent benefits for Vets!

      12. The VA still offers many benefits, but there is a movement on to privatize the VA just like the battle to privatize the U.S. Post Office, the nation’s park service, the public schools, prisons, etc. To achieve the dismantling of the public sector and dissolve the democratic public sector labor unions and turn public dollars over to the autocratic, non-union, private sector corporations, propaganda filled with misleading claims and lies is being spread and repeated often.

        I’ve talked to a number of people who think the VA doesn’t work and should be replaced by corporations. I tell them, the VA has been my health provider for more than a decade and I have no complaints. It works and the employees in the VA are there to serve the veterans and not a profit motivated CEO and corporation, and I have never felt neglected by them.

        The only time service suffers at the VA is when Congress cuts funding to the VA to starve it so it will stumble and look bad in the media feeding into the propaganda designed to destroy the public sector.

      13. No disrespect intended to the VA itself – I believe that more people are aware of budget cuts reducing what they are able to do than you think.

        It’s ALWAYS money – and when you dig deep enough, you’ll find the machinations of corporate capitalism at the root – and a politician or several making it possible for them to operate any way they choose.

        Anyone who believes that privatizing will IMPROVE anything doesn’t read!

        More than a “simple” loss of respect, I am growing to hate Congress more and more with each lousy decision they make – but failing to prioritize funding to support the men and women they send to war is the lowest of the low, IMHO.


      14. I don’t have much respect for most elected reps. What we need to do to clean up some of the mess in Congress and state legislatures is drastic election finance reform and put an end to Citizens United.

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