My hands soiled with grease and grime, I mutter things that could send me to hell into the next eternity. Why do machines have to break so easily? Oh the humanity! Why have we grown more dependent on machinery to take over nearly all aspects of the work we used to toil over and tire us out by the end of the day? It seems that machines, in all its’ glory and convenience, tend to make life more difficult when they don’t work rather than make life easier and simpler, as they are supposed to do. Even computers, the maven of modern technology, takes away the need to memorize everything, then again, making our minds more mushier as the years go by. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it is hooked on the screen and scanning for the last file you saved. I know it’s here somewhere, I know I e-mailed that last Reznotes, sometimes I cry to the editor (who knows that if it is not there, that I will suffer the consequences of having some lurid photo of me displayed to all the nation and I will have to endure the taunting that goes on behind my back…theme from psycho is playing…) The missing screw, today, is akin to the missing link in human evolution, and if and when the scenario that the Terminator series depicts ever becomes reality, we just have to phase out mechanics and computer wizards to end it all right there and save the world.

Yes, technology does have its boundaries and they are set by the amount of human ingenuity and ability of the human mind to continually come up with creative ways to bring life to machines. As I begrudgingly acknowledge, the price that machines and technology play is steep, starting with my muscles and the soggy grey mass I call a brain, then the ability of my bank account to grow to purchase all this technology. I may sound old fashioned, but give me back my dog team and paddle in exchange for the skidoo and outboard motor. Give me back the solace of the wind in exchange of the rumbling of a fan converted current wafting through a dirty vent. Give me back my humanity and I’ll be happy.

Don’t get me wrong, I like machines and technology, I just don’t like the fact that sometimes, I have no choice but to use it. It is simpler to flick a light switch than to choke on acrid smoke from the improperly burning wick, blackening the clear funnel of a lamp, then again, how easy is it to generate electricity? I’m glad that I don’t have to work for Hydro Quebec and be responsible for the lame excuses when blackouts occur. Who ever heard of solar winds knocking out transmission lines and satellites? Hydro Quebec, that’s who. Perhaps those crazy loonies at the Solar Temple have some credence when they claim that extraterrestrial forces (albeit natural forces) are the real culprit.

As I write these notes, the melodious sound of giggling girls from the office interrupt my train of thought. Aren’t they supposed to be hard at work, or is it the way, we as Crees, tend to carry out work and duties? I know, that in the somber atmosphere of the southern office complexes, laughing is no laughing matter. Seriousness has a place somewhere near the top of the corporate ladder and laughing out loud is not one that is considered a virtue. But it seems to work here, in the north, where everything is taken in stride and with a laugh to throw in for good measure, things do get done. Perhaps it is the very thing that made us who we are today, a nation that is growing very rapidly into a power of the north.

Machines do have their place in the Cree lifestyle and I’m not sure where it lays exactly, but everywhere I look, feel and hear, there is the drone of a machine somewhere. Give me the sound of a giggling girl any day.