i-Stupid

Saturday morning, I reached for my phone and noticed the battery was at 21%. Though it was plugged in overnight, I sometimes need to wiggle jiggle or flip it—even though lightening cords have no polarity—in order for charging to happen. This is common for me. Electrical stuff just sort of doesn’t work, or stops working, or eludes me. I try to hide this from Bernie and the boys. Whenever I complain about a technological challenge they affect the sort of gaze glaze reserved for doorstep Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’ll shake their tired heads, give me un-followable instructions, and mutter, “blondie.” This never changes the fact that your screen will turn to BLACK the minute you hand it to me. I don’t know why this happens. But it always does.

Lazy Lees often skip breakfast on Saturdays and start throwing out lunch suggestions in the late afternoon. I won a minor victory (no Chinese food!) by installing the Shake Shack app to order the family burgers. Brodie was by my side to ensure I didn’t bungle this, and insisted on reading the app reviews, which were middling at best. Still, I successfully navigated a download (even though I never know the Apple ID password) and pre-ordered lunch that would be ready when they texted.

But they never texted. No call. No email.

When I finally found a human to explain this to me, he couldn’t. They had my phone number and email address and my food was hot and ready… but there was no way to let me know? Apparently. I knew it wouldn’t go smoothly, because, well, it never does. We ate our tepid burgers and limp fries, anyway.

Later that day, Teddy wanted a ride to visit a friend who lives beyond the interstate loop. Driving north on the highway, I was already lamenting a return trip in untold miles of stopped traffic… until I remembered that I had WAZE on my phone. Like some sort of app genius, I entered our home address, saw an alternate route and waved goodbye to Teddy as I planned to outsmart traffic with technology. But she wouldn’t talk to me. I swear I had used her directions before, and she was constantly saying, “Watch out!” for speed traps, stopped cars, and roadkill. WAZE probably has a button to report punch buggies and license plates with uncommon letters. But she remained silent. And now I’m in this weird part of Wellesley without traffic, or verbal directions. Responsibly, I pulled over to see why she was being so coy, but every setting I could find indicated she should be heralding turns at full volume. Distractedly, I drove home snatching furtive glances at my silent phone.

Our devices are designed to make life easier, and yet for me, they are unpredictably unreliable. I have honest to God wondered if I’m imbued with an electromagnetic jamming signal that prohibits device compliance. Could this be a thing? Or maybe I’m just an idiot? Do your iThings always deliver? Or are you like me, clutching a black screen on unfamiliar roads with cold takeout wondering how you can be so smart and yet so iStupid?

Shake Shack

According to the app, Saturday’s lunch for the Lees is still a work in progress.

Advertisements

Simple Things Are Hard for Me

It’s not that I’m especially stupid, or even terribly averse to new technologies, but I’ll never be that cool girl all jazzed about a new iThing. I’m the girl who inadvertently turns off the phone while it’s in GPS mode and we’re circling an unfamiliar city block with he-touched-me-stop-looking-at-me-are-we-there-yet boys in the backseat. I’m the girl who doesn’t know which icon to tap, or why the screen is black again, or why all queries lead back to iTunes. I’m the girl who asks the 8 year old how to take a screen shot and email the picture… exasperating said 8 year old in the process. So when my (first generation, I-hate-change) iPhone began to act all wonky, I attempted to hide it from the husband for as long as possible.

Him: What’s wrong with your phone?

Me: Um, it just kind of turns black if I send too many texts. Or check email.

Him: Is it the battery?

Me: (blank stare)

Him: You need a new phone.

Me: (crestfallen)

I’m assuming most people tear open a box from the Apple store rather immediately. Not me. Because I know that whatever is in there isn’t going to work. Well, it’s not going to work right away, or for me, or without a lot of cursing from the husband.

Him: Was the phone delivered yet?

Me: I think so.

Him: Did you look at it?

Me: I looked at the box.

Him: Go plug it in and follow the screen prompts to activate it.

Me: (radio silence)

Poor Bernie. After ten solid hours of surgery, husband returns to home and hearth and the ineffectual phone upgrade attempts by blonde wife. It was no surprise to either of us that my old phone did not appear anywhere on the computer after 45 minutes of spinning icon. I’ll never know where I sent all of my phone numbers, and funny texts, and fuzzy (first generation!) pictures of report cards and lost teeth. But kind, exhausted husband doesn’t balk at this, and does something with a Cloud and now the new phone looks like a shinier version of the old one and so, yay!, new phone, right?

Him: Now, just follow the instructions on the screen to activate the phone.

Me: It won’t let me type letters.

Him: There aren’t any letters in the activation code.

Me: There’s a “K.”

Him: Oh my God.

Ultimately letter-free codes are found and new phone is all spinny icon and the computer promises me that it will send me a chipper email when it’s all done. Alas, no email. After 8 hours the shiny phone is still all spinny icon. Husband, racing for airport in the wee hours, tells me to I’ll have to talk to customer service people. Because current strategies of haphazard icon clicking and magical thinking aren’t working. Dread. Customer service people have questions I cannot answer. I know how it’s going to go already.

Them: Hi, how can I help you?

Me: The new phone looks like the old phone, but it’s still all spinny icon and I didn’t get the email.

Them: Let’s start with your order number.

Me: The one that starts with a “K?”

Them: Could you put your husband on the phone?

They start fielding calls from dolts like me in fifteen minutes. I feel bad for them already.

Fantasizing about bygone days and corded electronics that don't make me feel stupid... but glamorous.

Fantasizing about bygone days and corded electronics that don’t make me feel stupid… but glamorous.

 

*weekly writing challenge