We are living in a geek's paradise. We are so spoiled by our gadgets and the Internet that we expect everything to be automated, digitized, and customized, not to mention responsive to the swipe of a finger.
Technology has rewired our brains, altered our expectations, and, frankly, turned us all into cranks.
How do you know if this has happened to you? Look for the following 21 warning signs.
You know you've been spoiled rotten by technology when....
1. You no longer complain about how slow, buggy, and crash-prone your PC is. Instead you complain about how slow, buggy, and crash-prone your smartphone is. And now you're doing it in the checkout line at the supermarket.
2. You automatically assume that every screen is a touchscreen, but you have to touch them all just to make absolutely sure. This explains why you're no longer allowed to enter Best Buy.
3. Someone else is named Mayor of McFatty Burgers in Foursquare before you are, and you wind up depressed for a week. Don't worry, you're still King of the Dorks. Would you like fries with that, Your Highness?
4. You waited in line for 24 hours and spent hundreds of dollars for the latest, greatest iPhone, yet you spend most of your time using it to simulate flatulence. Still, it could be worse--you might actually be that gassy.
5. Nothing is fast enough for you anymore. ATMs, TV remotes, microwave ovens--all now suffer from too much "lag" for your tastes. Fortunately, pressing buttons repeatedly while swearing like a sailor does, in fact, alter the time-space continuum.
6. You can't attend a meeting or go to dinner without hiding your BlackBerry under the table and secretly responding to e-mail. Worse, you don't even care that other people wonder what the heck your thumbs are doing down there.
Life Is Tough
7. Your idea of roughing it is spending a week without TiVo. Those things that keep interrupting the program you're watching? They're called "commercials." Annoying, yes, but usually not fatal.
8. Your flight's on-board Wi-Fi craps out, and you're thinking about parachuting down to the nearest Starbucks so that you can log on. Still, that's better than watching Twilight: Eclipse, the in-flight movie.
9. YouTube just cannot stream videos of cats singing opera fast enough for your tastes. We understand that adopting a Highlander accent and shouting "She canna go na faster cap'n!" helps. If Scotty can't fix it, nobody can.
10. Somebody cuts you off in traffic, and you immediately search your steering wheel for the 'Thumbs-Down' button. The good news: Even when you're short on thumbs, you still have two middle fingers.
11. You log on to Pandora and find 'channels' you don't remember creating. The Lady Gaga/Madonna station makes some sense, we suppose, but that Disney/Slayer mashup? Time to cut back on the Ambien.
12. You're seriously considering buying a new Ford Fiesta with Sync just so you can have your tweets read to you while you're driving. Not to worry--we understand that the folks at Twitter are working on a brain implant. Soon, what's on Ashton Kutcher's tiny little mind may also be on yours.
13. You have to find a bigger apartment because your HDTV needs more space. Also, it's really had enough of your snoring and is demanding separate bedrooms.
Oh My, Wi-Fi
14. Your longtime neighbors tell you they're moving, and you're really upset because now you'll need to find another open Wi-Fi connection to "borrow." That, and they usually kept the curtains open at night.
15. You always keep the lawn neatly manicured and the front of your house spotless, just in case the Google Street View camera van passes by. We're sure they appreciate the thought, but those lawn gnomes shaped like Sergey Brin and Larry Page are a bit over the top.
16. Your 6-megapixel digital camera isn't "high-res" enough for you anymore. Hey, if you can't take bathroom-mirror self-portraits and blow them up to wall size, what good is it?
17. You keep clutching your Apple iPad and waiting for something magical, revolutionary, and life-changing to happen. If that doesn't occur, don't blame Apple; you were probably just holding it wrong.
18. You keep telling everyone that you bought an Android phone because you couldn't abide signing a two-year contract with AT&T, when the real reason is that the Android Market doesn't ban adult apps. Don't fret, we won't tell anybody about your collection of naughty Popeye and Olive Oyl pics.
In the Hood
19. You wear a hoodie 24/7 no matter what the temperature and refuse to take it off, lest someone discover the satanic-cult insignia on the inside. Still, you're 26 and a billionaire on paper, and they're making movies about you, so you must be doing something right.
20. You're bummed that Megan Fox ignored your Facebook friend request. Not to worry--that's not really Megan, it's a 400-pound guy in drag. Then again, if 400-pound guys in drag won't even friend you, maybe you have bigger problems.
21. Your boss is threatening to fire you, bill collectors are calling, your significant other "needs to talk," your mother is on her way over for a visit, and all you can think about is "I wonder if there's an app for that." Hate to tell you, dude, but there isn't--yet.
PCWorld contributing editor Dan Tynan prefers Homer and Marge to Popeye and Olive. He writes this kind of thing all the time at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild), a humor site he cofounded with fellow PCWorld contributor JR Raphael. Follow him on Twitter if you dare(@tynan_on_tech).