Technology Wilderness


My life has been hijacked by technology. Yesterday I was working on some pottery with a few hours of time available before my next appointment. I had my Droid sitting near the wheel along with a towel so if it chimed I could wipe my hands real quick and pick up. I was expecting to hear from two of my children. Narcie was in town for something, and Josh had his Elder Interviews with the Board of Ordained Ministry. I wanted to hear from both of them, and especially wanted to hear if Josh passed. Hey, having a family of three Elders is a big deal with all the ups and downs of the crud we’ve been through this year.
Anyway, I know my phone was fully charged before I went into my studio. It’s been acting a little strange lately, not holding charges for very long. I’ve been religiously using the Task Killer to conserve energy, but anyway I’m sitting there throwing clay, making large vases, and no phone call. I finish up my studio work and head into the house for a quick shower and look carefully at the phone and say to myself, “What? No calls, no emails – impossible. I always get emails. What’s going on?” The phone was dead! And I couldn’t call Josh because his number is in the phone, not in my memory. I felt lost in a technology wilderness: isolated, out-of-touch. Heck, I felt more connected to the civilized world when I was in Africa in August and they got word to me that my oldest brother had suddenly died.
So I went to my 11:30 appointment and afterwards it was off to my cell carrier’s office. You know how that goes. You go in, they enter your name so it comes up on a screen letting everyone know who’s next. You browse around, look at new gadgets, and WAIT! I did enjoy looking at the iPad, but it went south from there. Finally when I was able to speak to a representative she told me my phone wasn’t just on the fritz. It was deader than dead. She said that she would place an order for a new phone that would arrive today. Well, I was freaking not being able to talk to Josh about his interviews, and who knows what else from unchecked email. I didn’t want to wait overnight so I asked if there was some sort of promotion to get me a phone in my hand right then and there.
Nope! Well, a qualified “no,” depending on ending up with a phone with a new number. No way! I barely remember my number now. So I yielded and said send me another phone, but wondered if there was any way that I could use a phone in the mean time. I had saved my old phone and it was in the car. I got it, and waited for them to charge it. Then the sales rep went to lunch or cyberspace. I ended up with a manager who saw me sitting on the ottoman-like bench. He tried to charge my old phone and then announced to me that the screen said “invalid battery.” He put in a new battery that I have to take back sometime today, and told me it would only work if it was plugged in – not when walking through the grocery store, not when I turned off my car, not anywhere except with me standing or sitting beside it plugged into a jack. Kind of takes the “mobile” out of mobile phone.
Then a new difficulty, how do I go about transferring all my contacts and settings to the new overnight phone? “Easy,” said the guy. All I needed was my Gmail account address and password. Well, whatdaya know, I hadn’t saved any of that. He was able to look up my Gmail address, but I tried the two or three passwords that are my sort-of universal passwords and they didn’t work. I emailed Gmail and tried to access the “forgot your password” tab and get an email asking questions that I couldn’t answer except one: What was your father’s middle name? Easy. My dad was Ralph Thomas McClendon, so I typed in “Thomas.” Guess what? The security folks found out my credibility as a person to give a new password to was next to zip. “Thomas” was incorrect though that’s impossible. Maybe I put my mother’s middle name so I tried it – Nada, zip. My only hope of transferring the data is if my old phone lives long enough to transfer. Yes, that’s right, in the mean time like so often happens when I have a car problem, the darn thing gets well when I leave the phone joint. Except that now it shows a screen, full battery, but I can’t make a call – weird, but, hey, the guy said if it will turn on at all I can get my info off of it.
The only thing left will be the process of pairing it with my car’s hands-free utility. That’s another saga. I’m lost in the technology wilderness, but it sure has been quiet. I could get used to it, if I wasn’t so used to having everything and everybody at my fingertips. Do I own a phone, or does the phone own me?

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