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

14 responses

  1. I wonder if you and my wife are related because she absolutely avoids all new technology unless the situation is such that she has to take it on. She too just got a new phone but I activated it for her.

    Good luck!

  2. Britt

    You can put me down as a “tech” challenged woman, I understand completely…… always call for someone, anyone who knows about these unpredictable, gizmos.

    Written instructions are for extreme emergencies when you have lots of time to study them…..and that does not happen often.

    But I can’t do without my cellphone…..that makes me dependent, and makes other people feel more intelligent?


  3. I need permission to quote the opening lines about the use of Smartphone GPS – preferably on Frank’s wall. My issue is that I am clearly not completely tech challenged – it is just anything to do with the phone (particularly the gps when navigating for another person) or tv. Frank reasonably assumes that I am not trying. I dread the 1-2 year ritual of the phones being changed over, though I admittedly love the new tools. Good luck to you, and glad to know I am not alone!

  4. You ars so me.Can’t take pictures-they are taken of my finger or shoes and never has sent one-ever without a friend doing it for me.People say is that a 5 and I say yes but that means more things I will never know in the 5-my son buys me indestructible pink case-can go in water,drop it from Empire State Building and it will make it.I feel safer now as long as I don’t leave it on Rosie’s counter or drop it under car seat while negotiating traffic jam on Route 9 westbound yesterday-I managed to call 911 and they transferred me to Brookline police who were appreciative as they had heard about problem but couldn’t find the car on Route 9.West of 850 Bolyston Brigham’s building I said.I felt proud a good citizen!!!!! Of course a 1 or 2 will also have connected me!!!!!!

  5. Touched my heart. Again. I will now publicly admit to relying on my two (newly graduated) 21 year old computer science engineer twin sons, frequently, for all of the above. Activation processes, importing and exporting, cloud interaction and all other ridiculous techno-hoops intimidate me and put me in a bad mood. Funny how you and I are perfectly at ease with things like cell membrane biochemistry and dna or rna replication or translation and initiator proteins, and how none of that will ever help us understand the coding and programs of Appledom. Celebrating you have your son and Prince Charming to help you navigate. It works. Love you more. With each post!

  6. This post gets it EXACTLY right for me (as I peck away on the first-gen iPhone MY hubby forced me to get instead of the flip phone that was rejected as a charitable donation because NO ONE wanted it). Thanks for making me feel accompanied in this gadgety world. L

  7. Pingback: Is the Internet Ruining Human Interaction? | Stuphblog

  8. In the “good old days” you called Watertown with a telephone problem, and a real, native-born person answered and actually wanted to help! Their kids probably took their MBA degrees and went downtown.

  9. Pingback: i-Stupid | Blooms and Bubbles

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s