I’m colossally ticked off. I have spent the last three or four days of my life waiting on tech support. After living comfortably in the 1990’s era of technology, I foolishly decided it was time to upgrade my life. I was tired of having a cell phone that only (gasp) made phone calls. I wanted to be able to tell my Facebook friends I was eating a pizza at my local pizzeria and post a picture to prove it. Facebook friends are supremely interested in this kind of information. I wanted to be able to check my e-mail from anywhere. What if I missed out on an exciting new diet pill or a great deal on car insurance? I wanted to be able to take candid pictures of my children doing something crazy or cute. The final straw came when I was at my daughter’s gymnastics class and the coach kept telling everyone to take lots of pictures because this was a priceless memory we would want to keep for a lifetime. Every parent pulls out their phones and starts snapping away. I looked at my impotent cell phone and immediately felt like a failure. Enough was enough. I had to have a new cell phone.
We don’t use the cell phone very often so we have a prepaid plan. We’ve had it for years and it’s great. We keep the minutes we buy and it only costs $15 a month to keep it active. We’ve accumulated 1500 minutes and I thought a phone with web access and a camera would be a good way to use up some of those minutes. It would also assuage the mom guilt I feel every time I miss one of my children’s funny/embarrassing/poignant photo ops. So I bought a new phone on Thursday. Today is Monday, and it still doesn’t work. The service won’t transfer. They managed to transfer my minutes and my time to the new phone, but I can’t make or receive phone calls. It’s a nightmare.
My first idea was to call tech support. What a joke. I got a lady from Techsupportistan who led me through a thousand lines of code, which took about an hour since I could barely understand her. When the code didn’t work she gave me the highly technical advice of turning the phone off and on, removing the battery, entering a code, and trying to do all this outside where signal would be stronger. She suggested I do all these things every hour until it worked. Perfect. I contacted tech support on Facebook and at least got some new instructions without the hassle of translation issues. I thought I was actually getting somewhere. That was two days ago and still no phone. I’m currently in a new Facebook conversation with tech “support” and trying really hard not to use obscene or disrespectful language. Repeating to myself, “You are a Christian” is helping with that. For now.
Technology is supposed to make life easier. What a load of crap. In the past couple of weeks, we have been upgrading TVs, computers, video recorders, and cell phones. I’ve spent most of my time waiting on people to call or come to my house to fix these devices. These BRAND NEW devices. Is it unreasonable to expect things to work right out of the box? All I want is to push the “on” or “send” button and get power or make a call. When I’m paying for DSL, I want to get on-line and have my phone work at the same time. I’m not interested in how things work. I’m not interested in troubleshooting, especially on something I just bought. There shouldn’t be any trouble to shoot.
I am not a gadget girl. I don’t want or need iPhone 19 and I absolutely hate the idea of an eReader. (Bulky books with musty, dog-eared pages are crucial elements in the joy of reading.) I just want a phone and a camera in one convenient, pocket-sized device. Every “upgrade” has cost me time, money, and a little of my sanity. Every new service I subscribe to distracts me from important things I should be doing. My housework, my bible study, my reading, and my piano playing have all been neglected. What was once a hectic life is now a frustrating, maddening life wasted in turning devices on and off, removing their batteries again and again, and entering long strings of numbers and symbols, clicking OK, only to have a giant red x beside the message, “Programming Failed” pop up on the screen. I’m sick of it.