Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Family Timeline of Technology Challenges

Date:  Today
Combatants:  Mom vs her Cell Phone's Contact List

Mom:  "Alyce?  Hello, Alyce?  Are you at home?"

Her niece, Bekah (confused):  "This is Bekah."

Mom:  "Bella?  Goodbye!"  [fist shaking gesture] "Who is Bella?  I'm going to learn to use this cell phone if kills me!  If it does kill me, please have 'killed by cell phone' put on my tombstone."

Date: February, 2011
Combatants:  Me vs. Texting on my new iPhone

Text sent to my friend Anne:  "Fish?  Hi!  I need help, iffy as I can't get the aquifer off."
Text sent to my friend Susannah:  "Now I can text, but I can't figure out how to turn off the aquifer!  Aquiver!  Thing that changes the spelling.  Goldfish."
Second text sent to my friend Susannah:  "Do you know how to sht off the aquiver?  Saunas?"

Date: January, 2010
Combatants:  Mom vs. Childproof door locks

Me: [answering work phone] "Yes?"
Mom:  "I'm okay now."
Me: "That's good.  Were you not okay before?"
Mom:  "You didn't answer your phone, but the mechanic managed to get me out of the car."
Me:  "What happened?"
Mom:  "All of the doors locked!  I was trapped!  Also, the windows didn't work.  How do I make the car know I'm an adult?"

Date:  Fall, 2008
Combatants:  Me vs. a Chair

[sound of running feet, followed by frightened squeaks and something slamming into the wall] 
Colleague, peering into my classroom: "Are you alright?"
Me:  "Just a little bruised; I had to lower the chair."
Colleague:  "I've never seen anyone use that technique."
Me:  "Well, you have to sit in it to lower it, and I can't get into it without taking a running start."
Colleague:  "I think I understand why students enjoy your class."

Date: 1998
Combatants:  My parents vs. the Answering Machine

Answering machine message:  "[My father's voice] 'What do I do, Carolyn?' [Mom] 'Talk into the thing, Ben!  Do it now!' 'Now?' 'Now!' [throat clearing] 'HELLO!  YOU HAVE REACHED..." [beeeeeep]

Date:  August, 1997
Combatants:  Me vs. Tools

Me:  "Um, I'm almost finished putting the computer desk together, but I wondered if I could borrow a different hammer and screwdriver."
Physical Plant Worker at my new job:  "Are those the wrong size?"
Me:  "No.  I'm really sorry, but I broke them."
Physical Plant Worker:  "You broke a hammer and a screwdriver?"
Me:  "The handles just sort of flew off." [handing him four pieces that were once useful tools]
Physical Plant Worker:  [long pause while gazing at broken tools] "Why don't you let us finish this up for you, okay?"

Date: 1991
Combatants:  Me vs. Office Supplies

Me: "Do know if the thing that removes staples works on cloth?"
My grad school advisor: "Cloth?  What kind of cloth?"
Me:  "The stuff my socks are made out of."
My advisor: [blank look]
Me:  "I was trying to hem my pants."
My advisor: "Should I ask why your left hand is covered up to the wrist in purple ink?"
Me:  "The stapler flew into some toner."

Date: Summer of 1988
Combatants:  Me vs. Buttons

Mom:  "You realize you're wearing a man's shirt."
Me:  "What man?"
Mom:  "Not what man, any man.  That shirt was made for a man."
Me:  "How can you tell?"
Mom:  "The buttons are going the wrong way."
Me:  "Are you sure it's not just inside out?"
Mom:  "Then it would be inside out."
Me:  "I'm confused."
Mom:  "Never mind."

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