Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Get-Out Clause

I, like many other non-Amish people, have a particular image of Amish people. (Which perhaps I should research a bit more than I have just for the sake of knowing my fellow humans--not that I'm likely to meet many Amish in clinical practice.)
Anyway, if you're like me, you probably picture them not only wearing bonnets or those flat hats and driving horse carts (which they do) but also having little, if any, truck with technology. Now this part is apparently where I've been misinformed, except perhaps as concerns old-order Amish, which is my stereotype of all Amish. 
Today I was speaking with a gentleman who's lived in these parts for a while, as he described it, surrounded by many Amish neighbors. He claims that the restriction on technology is that one can't have it in one's home, which I guess leaves a lot of wiggle room. He told me that frequently they will construct elaborate garages, with air conditioning, televisions, and whatnot. He told of visiting one household at which, when the mother and daughter opened the door, the entryway was crammed with computers tracking the milking, harvesting, and so forth (which information the mother and daughter were in charge of overseeing). Because the entryway was not in the house, you see, this was okay. Another neighbor had to leave their conversation to run to the outhouse--but not for the reason I'd imagine. Rather, he went to answer the phone, which was in the outhouse and had a very loud ringer.
So the secret is out. Although it is second-hand, and is probably biased to some extent. For all I know, other non-Amish around here already know all this and perhaps even take it for granted. But it certainly shook up my preconceived notions.