Help! I’m a dinosaur!

Picture of wooden toy dinosaurs on top of a stack of books.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Well, not me personally no, but my dearly departed, or departing cell phone apparently is a technical dinosaur. In this time of technical advances, it does not require the passage of much time to achieve that particular status. Isn’t that what they say about cell phones? You don’t even have to drive them off the lot before they…Oh. Okay, that is what they say about cars. But if your brand new amazing cell phone is in your car and you drive it off the lot, same thing.

I am not a fan of built in obsolesence. I cannot tell you how many coffee makers my husband and I have owned in almost thirty five years of marriage. But, I digress.

It all started earlier last week when my cell phone, my near constant companion for over two years, (close to three years) began a gradual but definite cascading systems failure. One or two apps at a time began to malfunction. Phone calls abruptly ending in mid sent….like that. The first few times it happened, I thought it was the other person’s phone. But it happened on another call, so maybe not.

One malfunction was just an annoyance, but when it hit my texting app, I knew I was in trouble. I could live without the weather app, I could just look out the window at the sky, or open the door and step out onto the porch, but receiving or responding to a text without a messaging app, much trickier.

Since I am somewhat limited in the area of technical expertise (I have technical experience, it is the expertise that I lack), I took my myself and my phone to the closest box store, to the young, enthusiastic, helpful, though not necessarily trained, clerks at the electronics counter. They have saved my bacon before with phone issues.

There, not one, but two, kind and facile young men did their best to figure out the problem. They asked questions, they tried maneuvers, they they put their heads together with their combined understanding of all things electronic and finally said, “We don’t know what the problem is; you should probably take it to Best Buy and ask them to run an analysis.”

Picture of a hand holding a smart phone loaded with icons for apps
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

It was not what I wanted to do, I had lofty plans of baking or writing or reading for that afternoon, but no, that was not to be. I had a brief conversation with a friendly, understanding person, a tech rep, who was able to schedule an appointment for me for that afternoon. We are talking a one-hour drive, plus time to take Sheba for a quick walk, to ensure her water-tight integrity during her unexpected confinement, grab a snack for the road and any essentials.

Roger dropped me off at Best Buy, and went to run an errand. I got to the right counter, verified my appointment and explained the problem to the technician, handing my phone to him. He looked, made a few quick moves on the phone, looked up and said. “I’m not seeing it. It’s not doing it now.”

You know that feeling when you are having car problems, get it to the mechanic and the vehicle in question fails to demonstrate its failures? Yup. An hour drive, an approaching weekend, one open time slot for the appointment. I looked at the young man and said, “Well, could you text my phone and see what happens?” I had deleted all the previous text messages and a few other things, trying to lighten the load of data on my phone since it kept crashing.

The tech guy obliged and finally saw that it was not working. He had also checked the weather app. He allowed as how it was likely the age of the phone, and that at a certain point companies stop supporting their products with updates. This, probably around the two year mark.

Reader, be you male or female, if you are of a certain age, go to the doctor with an issue and are told “It is probably your age!” Don’t you just love it? No, me neither. Less so when the problem is a piece of technology that is under three years old.

Fortunately, for me and my sanity, my phone did, under his expert care, demonstrate that something was indeed wrong. He was able to offer me a temporary fix, by force stopping a few programs, which he said you shouldn’t have to do. He also implied, that my phone’s days were probably numbered.

I left the store, not happy to have a problem with my phone, but happy enough to be taken seriously. And, happy to be going into the weekend with a phone that was working. I drive alone a lot. Even if I am less than an hour away I generally, though not always, phone my husband to let him know I am on my way. I like that he has a time-line and also a sense of what roads I am on, in case there is a problem. Sometimes I employ a line from a much loved Boston DJ from the 1960’s, who ended every radio show by saying, “Put on the coffee honey, I’m coming home!”

Two days later, I was leaving church to come home. I called to check in and barely got 4 words out when my call dropped. It wasn’t a cell tower problem. It had been happening over the last week, one of many cascading defects. But this time when my call disappeared, I wasn’t sitting at my desk at home in fluffy slippers with my dog by my side and my hubby nearby. This time I was behind the wheel of my car, on a two-lane curvy, hilly, country road and I felt vulnerable.

arial view of a hilly curvy country road
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

You can be someplace where there are not enough bars to make a call, but this was not that place. My phone, my constant companion had let me down for the last time. So for a second time in less than forty-eight hours, I found myself at the box store, shopping for a new phone.

So, here’s the thing. A lot has changed up since I bought my last cell phone. I am an Android kind of girl, which I have previously described as a ‘Sort of’ smart phone. This model has so many bells and whistles that there was not any obvious place for the phone icon to show up. I spent about ten minutes, ten slightly panicked minutes trying to figure out how to find it and wondering if I had bought a phone at all or just a highly sophisticated jumble of parts and plastic that might also be used to make a phone call. There is a difference.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate some of the features of my phone. While my husband is fond of describing his cell phone by pointing out, “This is a phone, it makes phone calls. That is all I need.” He has every right to feel that way; it works for him, but I want more. And, although my phone does have fun features, I consider it a necessity to be able to connect with parishioners and colleauges. But, while I struggled to figure out how to use this new phone, I was close to agreeing with him. I was close to throwing the %&#!! thing.

I am a pretty smart cookie, all things considered, but I have described myself as a-technical for years. While I am happy about the amazing improvements that modern technology offers us, some days it feels like too much of a good thing, or too much of a new thing.

Some senior citizens are absolute tech wonders. But not all of us are; I have several parishioners now and even more in the past who do not own a computer, have no interest in being online, but in today’s world not everyone recognizes that fact.

When we got a new television last year, after our old one had given up the ghost, we were both frustrated when it turned out that we had to do the set up and start up online. If technology is not your middle name, that can be a challenge. When you go to an icon that says HELP, because you desperately need help, but are led to articles to read instead, not helpful; just saying.

In general, I wish there was a happy medium, between the latest, newest, high-tech phone and a low tech flip phone that requires great concentration and tenacity to tap out a text because you have to tap the keys the correct number of times to equal a specific letter.

Or, if you wish, a happy medium between the high tech “get’em while they’re hot” phone and a Life Alert System. I wish, that our demographic was important enough to provide something that is more user-friendly. We have money to spend too!

Picture of a toy dinosaur on a white floor
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I had a Pollyanna overdose as a kid, and I try to be a positive influence in a cranky world. But somedays, I fall short. Maybe I am a dinosaur.

Not holding back the tide.

Michele

Copyright 2021 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and https://msomervillesite.WordPress.com

Sharing on Esme’s Senior Salon and Natalie the Explorer’s Weekend Coffee Share

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

16 thoughts on “Help! I’m a dinosaur!

  1. Hi Michele, when I read the title of this post my first thought was that I was in good company! I, too, am a dinosaur – and so is my phone, by the way! I’m a little like your husband and need a phone only for phone calls. People can’t understand how I can live without having an internet connection with me wherever I go. Two and a half years ago I wrote a post on my blog called ‘I don’t have a smartphone – yet’. And I still don’t. I don’t like them and for as long as I’m not ‘forced’ to buy one (I mean, at some point we won’t be able to do anything without one) then I’ll live the old fashioned way with my old Nokia (which is probably about 8 or 9 years old now!). I hope that your new phone lasts more than 2 or 3 years this time, and that you can make calls, get text messages, and check the weather in peace. Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cheryl. In some ways I am a bit ambivalent about it. My cell phone lets me text or talk and not monopolize the house phone. I appreciate the sync feature on my car so I can make a call while driving (Carefully of course). But I also try to respect my husband’s feelings about the phone. I try not even to put it on the dining room table and if it is there and we are getting ready to eat, I move it to the office. In 24 years as a pastor, i have not had an emergen’y during dinner that couldn’t wait. And I never put one call on hold to take another. It is like telling the other person th at the next call is more important, may be more interesting, etc. Only on the occasions when I am aware of a life or death situation would I end a call to take another. Still, until I am fully retired, it is a helpful tool. I tried to be funny, while expressing both frustration and consternation. It is clear that our generation, and the next one down are not the demographic most companies care to court. have a good week, blessings, Michele

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  2. I felt sorry for you all the way through this post. Phone troubles are not for the faint of heart. I put off getting a new phone until the old one hardly works. Still, I have just now done the unthinkable. I saw a low price on a new phone, and husband John said I should go ahead and get it. He thinks phone components will be going up in price. You old phone might have done you a favor in dying before price hikes arrive. Good luck with the new phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne, it was frustrating, but I did try to make it sound funny; except of course for the fact that we are not the demographic most companies care about and they do not make technology user friendly. Thanks for caring and for taking the time to read and comment. Blessings for Holy Week. and Resurrection Day! Michele

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      1. It seems to me that phones should have become more user friendly by now. Have a blessed Holy Week. (We have a neighbor named Holly, so I’m glad I caught the swiping mistake. I prayed for a blessed Holly week for you.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for your prayer, I was very touched by that. Blessings for Holy Week and Resurrection Day for you and your family! So glad to be connected with you here:)

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  3. oh the joys of technology! Our house phone has ceased working since Australia upgraded its wired in network and now my only choice is to use a mobile/cell phone. I upgraded recently to one that is pretty modern and Android compatible without breaking the bank. I use it for calls, texts and to occasionally check something online (but rarely use internet on it). I watch in amazement how the younger generations use their phones as an extra bodily attachment and am slightly relieved to not be so dependent on mine – I like being phone free as much as possible and hopefully will stay that way. Good luck with the new phone journey x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lately I have been practicing being more phone free by simply leaving my phone upstairs! I think it is scary not to have a functioning landline. Here in the US many younger families have dropped their landline in favor of cell coverage, but us older folks consider the landline an essential piece of emergency necessity. And cell phones at a dinner table or a restaurant, very sad. Thanks for taking the time to read, comment and share. I really enjoy hearing about life in Australia.

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  4. This: “I wish, that our demographic was important enough to provide something that is more user-friendly. We have money to spend too! ” Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!!!

    I find myself now wondering what did we do before cell phones? How did we find our way from one place to another? How did we communicate when we were away from home? How did we bore our friends to tears showing them photographs of our adorable grandchildren before cell phones? Somehow, we managed, but I love the convenience of having everything in one place.

    When I am having issues with my cell, I take it to my grandson. He usually fixes the problem for me. He’s 9. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have some good family friends with teenage sons, and I considering calling them. You are right. Years ago when doing a yard sale I got the inspiration to sell our microwave oven. My kids had a fit. Eventually, I bought a new one. You are so right, before the conveniences, we didn’t even know any better. I still get a bit skeptical with all the bandwagons our culture has jumped on. Whenever an agency offers to let us skip the paper and do everything online, I balk. Even the church, lol. The only thing they are saving is their paper, we still have to print things. gripe, whine over. Blessings for this day and every day. Michel

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  5. Oh my goodness I am with you I used a Flip Fone for the last eight years and was totally happy. Then last year I was told it wouldn’t work on 5G so I needed a new one, which I bought on the cheap. It has already had to be updated 4 times and restarted more than that. THe old one was fine They forced me to change and now they want me to get an expensive one. I have never liked techie stuff. Once you start you are always buying more
    ,,
    ,,
    ,,
    Laughter is contagious. Start a pandemic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nosy question, Mr. Ohh. What country do you live in? I made an assumption, and I know all about those. I am a huge NCIS fan, though maybe tiring. I worked really hard to not mention Leroy Jethro Gibbs in my post to not worry about copyrights, but my hubby is definitely a flip phone buy and every upgrade he has to get he hates. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Let a smile be your umbrellla, but maybe wear a raincoat. Michele

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps more to the pity is that there are a few generations who have not learned the ethic of use it up, wear it out, repair, etc. And the components in the phones, we don’t want to think about where they come from or the work conditions of those who make them. Oops, not to be a downer, sorry (: But sometimes we have to have those conversations.

        Liked by 1 person

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