The Technology Isn’t Working, Can You Help?

The Technology Isn’t Working, Can You Help?

I have a couple of mottos I live by. One is:

It doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters how you act.

Saturday, I had an Olympic level challenge for this particular virtue. I didn’t medal. Ugh!

So, I had carved out some time to make art. I was doing it; I was listening to music and drawing. You might associate that activity with me but it’s actually really hard for me to draw before 5pm because of responsibilities. And here it was not even afternoon teatime and the markers were out and it was happening! A very pleasant half hour ensued.

Then my cell phone rings. It’s mom. She’d texted earlier that she couldn’t log into Facebook. Though I’d called her right back she is only now returning my call to help. Two and a half hours later I abandon my drawing and hustle to the kitchen. I am late starting dinner. As I chop onions, I review what just happened. I suck! Was I really just that mean to mom? Did I really use that tone of voice? What is wrong with me?

I’m not gonna belabor the plot synopsis of this play because it’s one we’ve all seen. It’s a play we’ve all performed. We’ve all been cast in both roles, the technological idiot and the person trying to help the idiot. The play sucks and everyone hates it. And yet the play has run nonstop for decades. It’s called The Technology isn’t Working, can you help? I know I’ve never felt so helpless as when I am in the idiot role. I mostly only know what I know now because of the number of times I’ve had to play the idiot. Part of the frustration of that role is you don’t know what you don’t know. Hard to be specific about ignorance.

On that note, the reason it’s so difficult to help my mom is because she doesn’t know the simplest terms. She doesn’t know if she is accessing Facebook through a browser or an app. I tried to zoom with her so I could see what she was seeing but she only had her phone so she couldn’t screen share. I tried to transfer her to her laptop, but she doesn’t know her log in password. I have it. She’s in. But it’s useless because she doesn’t know the Wi-Fi password. Cascading problems. I am feeling so much anxiety. Let’s just try to deal with one at a time. Let me ask some questions to get the information I need to understand the problem.

Do you know what a browser is, yes or no?

The screen says…

No mom, just yes or no, do you know what a browser is? Do you know what that term means?

When I click on the…

Mom! Mom! Stop! Please just answer me with a yes or no.

She can’t. I don’t know why. But I have to listen to reams of gobbledygook to try and parse the information I need. It makes me physically upset and my tone of voice stops being the way I want it to be.

Somehow, I do get her back into Facebook. I feel like I just got a Nobel prize. I am so proud of myself. I gave her a stern lecture about passwords and we hang up.

While still taking an arrogant bow at the end of the play for being the person who solved the riddle, the curtains immediately raise on a new play called You are a Terrible Daughter! What’s Wrong with You?

My mother has done so much for me. How many times has she stopped what she was doing to help me? Too many to count. I could never repay her with my time. I have to see helping her as a privilege, not as a roadblock. I call her back, apologize for being not so nice. She doesn’t care, she loves me, and she got her Facebook back. If I am going to medal in the next round, I need to improve my workout. I need to remember to be grateful in the moment of difficulty. I need to tattoo that motto on my arm.

Multiply by Stupidity, Subtract Piece of Mind

Multiply by Stupidity, Subtract Piece of Mind

You know how there is always some amount of nonsense that ruins everything? I am working on codifying that into a mathematical formula I would like to call the Asinine Factor. Multiply anything you want to achieve against it and come out 2 to 140,000 steps behind. It’s the universal wail of “Why?!!??” that we all scream at least once a year or maybe 10 times a day. Depends how lucky you are.

This is what got me ruminating on it. I am on my second pair of cool sneakers. Cool sneakers are for special occasions. They are there to signify to other people that you know what’s what. If you can’t afford to know what’s what on a regular basis you have to only wear them when you think someone might see you. Otherwise you wear the regular sneakers. I loved my first pair of cool sneakers and when the shine came off they actually became the regular sneakers. What a wonderful time that was. Even I thought I was cool for ten seconds. But eventually they wore down. They now live in retirement under my bedside table. You are supposed to have footwear nearby in the event of a nighttime earthquake event so you don’t cut your feet running down the hall of broken framed family portraits in the dark, calling out to the dogs. So no matter what I write next, I have that going for me. I’m not going to have bloody feet when I find out half my apartment is gone.

Little Dusty Under Here

So my new cool sneakers are the same style, different color combo. Arc’teryx calls them the “Approach” shoe. According to the sales person, it’s the shoe you wear when you are approaching the mountain you’re going to hike. The implication being you would change into hiking boots upon getting to said mountain. What a world! So many specialty items! So little disposable income! I use mine to walk the same set of 10 blocks while my two small dogs pee on pee. We could call it the “Approaching Urination” shoe and it would be just as appropriate.

Stupidly I was wearing the approaching urination shoes for my own pleasure only to come home to the wonderful game of “Do you smell that?” Answer honestly, have you ever played that game and the outcome wasn’t dog shit? Chivalrously, husband said he would handle it for me. I usually handle my own shit but I’m stressed out with work and so I accepted. Turns out his offer was no different than being in denial. The shoe was placed by the backdoor where is has remained as an impediment to entry every since. Each time I kick it aside, I think a little more deeply about the Asinine Factor or AF for short.

The AF is about that portion of reality that can’t be made to go according to plan. I notice it everywhere. Let’s look at another example that is not at all similar and yet yields the same discouraging results: Adobe Creative Suite. So many updates, so many opportunities to trade expansive creative time for clenched jawed trouble shooting. What’s more soul enriching that googling the phrase: “.mov .mp4 thumbnails not showing in 2019”. I mean why even do art when I could learn and learn and learn and learn about preference settings and Mac OS incompatibilities. Just cuz it worked for the last two years doesn’t mean I don’t thrill to the romance of it not working today. Adobe you bad boy! And of course the horrible international health scare that is AF-ing every plan of every person on the planet.

So the AF is that which worked yesterday but does not work today. It’s the slow person weaving in front of you on a narrow sidewalk when you’re late to a movie. It’s a virus you’re thinking more about than politics. That’s weird! It’s the world where shitty shoes stand sentry to your comings and goings because your to do list has a year long wait list. Life may holds many joys and many sorrows but none go un-mixed with stupidity.