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.

I Lost It Over Slippers

I Lost It Over Slippers

It’s humiliating and humbling. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a house shoe. I ruined our lovely lunch (we even had special bread!) because I wanted everyone’s feet to be warm and I was thwarted. Can you feel me? I wanted something nice for everybody, I had given up several hours of time to make it happen. And like a kitten undoing the rolled-up yarn with a single playful swipe, my child inquired, are they leather? Here’s the story.

It starts with husband. A few weeks ago, he tells me he’s really cold while wearing a thin cotton shirt, a thin cotton sweater and bare feet. Oh my goodness, how can you re-grout the bathroom and still have so few survival skills? To be fair, he has bad feet and hates anything binding, like socks. So, it’s a challenge. He has never in our time together, had winter house shoes. I feel like this could be a game changer for him.

My house shoes came from payless. They cost about $12 a decade ago. Every year I tell myself, get a new pair! The faux shearling that used to invite the foot into a sleeve of luxury now looks like dryer lint if dryer lint was hard and mean rather than soft and wimpy. But the soles of the slippers are doing great. There are going to be here when the sun supernovas.

A few years ago I did order an adorable replacement. Something woolen with little decorative flourishes sewn on. Something that would make you smile every time you put them on. But they had a small lip at the back of the heel and my foot was just a fraction too long. Oh brother! Are you kidding me! Disappointment is a hard emotion. An excess of smoking badness and nowhere to set it down like holding a hot skillet with a thin towel in a crowded kitchen. I didn’t have the stamina to remedy. I was too defeated. Husband handled the Zappos return and I retreated back to my stale but monogamous house shoe marriage.

I can’t remember my child’s house shoe history, but he doesn’t have any now. He mostly wears a pair of off-white fuzzy socks and they look pretty bad on the bottoms because Los Angeles is a filthy place and unless you want to sweep and mop every day, your socks are going to suffer.

With that, I’ve laid out the need. Are you rooting for us to get house shoes?

Like most of us, I am on Instagram a lot. Their AI has figured out that I will click on ads for bras and for slippers. So many bras and slippers and I just keep “saving” them. So, I week ago I open up my Instagram saved folder, locate these slipper sellers and start researching. I get it all figured out and then promptly do nothing because you get a pat on the back for figuring it out, right? But you don’t have to pull the trigger and spend actual money.

A week later and this task is my final project for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I am not bringing this to-do item into December. So, I go to order husband’s house shoe, he is getting a very high-end Nordic wool slipper that does all the things because he has the worst feet. Nope. Wrong! All sold out! We are repossessing that pat on the back; your research was for naught. You waited too long and you have to start over. I can feel the skillet of disappointment heating up!

An hour later and he is getting the cheapest slippers, but they are WIDE! Which he said was imperative. Now for me and son. I was going to order us some really stylish, vegan shoes from Australia, but two issues are upsetting me. And honestly, now that I am looking at this under a microscope, I can see that these issues are probably why I didn’t order right away. The shoes have a lip on the heel and no free returns. I cannot deal with returns. We need to order from Zappos. I find one in the exact uninteresting style of my old payless shoe. I tell son to pick his color and then I chose the other color for me. Done! Ha! Take that stupid to-do list!

Son and I then walk to the super fancy grocery store a block away and celebrate by getting some top shelf rosemary sourdough bread for our sandwiches. This is rare and fun. We are eating our sandwiches when son, who is having avocado rather than leftover Thanksgiving turkey, says: Are those house shoes you bought leather? What do you think friends? Is suede leather? The metaphorical skillet heats through the metaphorical thin towel in un-metaphorical seconds. I lose my shit. I make some scary howling noises then proceed to place my head in my hands and sulk in a big way. Would anyone like a little rancid butter for their rosemary sourdough?

What was happening for me is that the to-do item was now uncrossed and back on the list, return non vegan suede slippers to Zappos, my least favorite thing! Not only had I not accomplished my goal, I had more work to do. The whole point was to move into the work week light as feather chore-wise. It felt intolerable.

Both son and husband were perplexed but neither of them had spent their holiday time online, researching house shoes.

Anyway, no matter how I felt, I knew I was behaving poorly and had to pull it together. We were able to cancel his order. Amazing son provided a link to an affordable vegan alternative within the half hour. Ok. The to-do item is crossed off. Everything’s fine.

I know I live with a kraken. But I am trying. I am trying to make life nice; I am trying to get things done. I am trying to be good person. Life is hard. Obviously, this isn’t even in the realm of actual hardship. But life is comprised of many small moments and our emotional equipment is the same for both the small and large, the hard and the petty. So, though I acted badly, it was just for a few minutes. I did apologize. We are getting slippers. Onto the next thing.