Off The Beaten Path: Is there an App for that?
I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I love the fact that I can “reach out and touch someone” when I am out walking Gunny or perusing merchandise in a store. It’s great to call the Boss when he’s out on the road and give him an urgent message. I love to text my kids and “stalk” them on Facebook. But I HATE having to learn how to operate equipment – ANY equipment. This old dog just can’t learn new tricks. My biggest problem is that I NEVER read the instruction manuals. I try, honest. But my eyes glaze over and my heart begins to pound and I get a headache. So I toss the booklet aside and just try to wing it. Note: “winging it” does not work for me 90% of the time.
I bought my first Android phone almost two years ago. I needed a new phone as mine was on its last legs. I decided on purchasing the HTC Hero. I had to terminate our relationship after two weeks. My little fat fingers could not work that touch screen. I was constantly misdialing and my texts looked like I was high on crack when I sent them. I took the phone back to the store and the salesperson informed me that I had a lemon and a lot of my problems were in fact from a defective phone. I swapped that phone for a Samsung with a slide-out keyboard. My texts improved dramatically but I started having problems a few months down the line with my phone just randomly dialing someone while I was already talking to another person. Next I start having trouble sending texts – they just wouldn’t go through. I made the half hour drive to the store (yes, we live in the middle of no man’s land) and the tech took my phone into the mysterious backroom and came back and said that although I had lost all of my messages and photos, the phone should work like a charm. It didn’t.
If I wanted to send a text message from my house, I would have to walk outside and down the driveway, waving my phone frantically. Passing motorists waved back at me and children ran from me in fright. My random phone dialing became a common occurrence. I called the customer support line and they said, wait for it… I had a lemon phone. I was instructed to go back to the store and let the tech guy fix it.
My conversation with the phone tech guy follows:
Steve to me: “Tell the man about the problems you are having with your phone.”
Me: “I don’t want to.”
Phone Tech Guy: “What's the problem, Ma'am?”
Me: “Whenever I send a text I have to shake the phone for it to go through.”
So... I demonstrate and as I am doing so, I say: “See? My phone is shaking and so are my old fat lady arms. Don't look at my jiggling fat arms. This isn't normal, right?”
Steve: What's not normal? Having to shake your phone to send a text or that you have jiggly, fat old lady arms?
Phone Tech Guy turns his head and quietly guffaws.
Phone Tech Guy said he needed to take my phone back into the mysterious backroom to super tune it. I asked if I would lose my messages and photos again and was told that yes, I would. I had messages from people who were no longer living here on earth that I didn’t want to lose. I decided to wait until my contract was up in 7 months and upgrade.
Let me tell you, it has been a very long and very frustrating 7 months! Finally the day I had been waiting for arrived and I ordered my iPhone 4S. It comes in the mail the next day and I rip that box open and get online and activate the phone. There is no owner’s manual, just a little pamphlet and a URL to find out more information online. I call my husband and gleefully announce that I have a new phone. I can’t hear him. I ask him speak louder. He claims he is yelling but I can’t hear him. I call my son, who is sitting on the couch beside me, and the same thing happens, I can’t hear him.
I summon Siri, the iPhone Goddess and ask for help. I know that on all of those commercials Siri comes across as all sugar and spice. It’s a lie. She’s not. First she says she doesn’t understand me. Then she gives me the Google page and tells me to search for the answer myself. I get mad and call her a name that, if my Mother had heard me utter – well, my mouth would be washed out with soap. Siri hangs up on me. I call Siri back and tell her that it is her job to help me. She says she doesn’t understand me. I tell her that she is driving me crazy. She gives me the names and locations of the nearest mental hospitals. True story.
That darn phone drives me nuts for over 12 hours. I finally figure out that I left the piece of plastic on the front cover and it was covering up the receiver. I call Siri back to apologize. She calls me Steve. I ask her to help me find a class that tells you how to operate a smart phone. Ironic, isn’t it?