As a baby boomer, I am old enough to remember life before cell phones, WiFI, computers, even electric typewriters. Like taking a drug or some kind of medication, there is always a side effect or downside to the benefits of using these so-called life-saving inventions.
Five of my tech devices crapped out this week. The inconvenience and stress associated with sorting out the problems are enough to make me want to put a stick of dynamite under everything and go tech-free. I do not have a natural aptitude for solving these problems myself and I long for the simplicity of a life without all these complications that eat up way too much of my limited time left on this earth.
We’ve been subjected to problems with our cable service ever since we moved into this house twelve years ago. Our television and internet services have been prone to die completely on a regular basis or function sporadically according to whichever house the new moon is rising in. Dozens of technicians have visited, completely rewired and replaced our equipment, made unseen changes to the mysterious box up the street, and otherwise spent tens of thousands of dollars in technicians’ time trying to put a bandaid on old, unreliable services that need to be updated in our neighbourhood. It is an ongoing battle with Ma Bell but Rogers is not any better as evidenced by all the temporary wires strung through trees to our neighbours’ houses.
The other day I asked Alexa for a weather report so I would know whether or not to hang my sheets outside as the sky looked dodgy. Because I had not consulted her for quite a while she informed me that my WiFi needed updating and suggested I go to my app to make the necessary changes. No weather report until I perform my due maintenance. Honestly, I do not know where to start.
I recently made the potentially huge mistake of switching my husband’s cell service from Freedom to my provider, Zoomer Wireless which has more attractive cellular family packages for old people like us. Of course, that meant switching services onto a new phone (which he refused to do) and learning the ins and outs of his new provider. We’ve now lost our capability of calling Canada from the U.S. and his voicemail no longer works because his I.T. technician (me) does not know how to set it up again. Marriage counselling may be needed.
Last fall we had a new smart doorbell system installed in our home so we can see and hear who’s at the door or in the backyard even when we’re not home. What a marvellous invention. It was only when my neighbour mentioned that she knows every time I leave the house because her magic doorbell notifies her when I pass by, that I realized I haven’t had any communication from my own doorbell system for a while now. Checking my app I once again realized that my software needs to be updated or reinstalled or some such operation that pisses me off to no end as I know solving the issue will turn out to be beyond my capability.
In an attempt to cut back on my monthly cable TV bill, I made a concerted effort to use my Firestick more often and I cancelled all kinds of cable channels. But I’m obviously doing something wrong there too as I cannot get half the programs or movies on my Firestick that my girlfriend can get on hers because she’s married to a guy who understands this shit and knows how to maximize its use.
If you have been a follower of BoomerBroadcast for a while, you know that I rarely use my cellphone and it’s only within the last few months that I learned how to turn it on and off or send and receive text messages. I’m pretty sure people are sending me messages because they told me they are and I keep getting beeps but nothing shows up. And, I won’t even get into the fact I have not yet figured out how to set and retrieve voice messages. When I called Zoomer Wireless, they expected me to understand (as any dummy would) that I had to dial “1” first. When I did as I was told and it still failed I was told I was pushing the “1” too fast; I was supposed to hold it for a couple of seconds to engage properly. How are we supposed to know this?
Basic cable, or better still, a roof-mounted aerial. No-frills telephone service. No cell phone at all. No laptop, No internet. A manual door knocker. These options are becoming more appealing every day. The stress and amount of knowledge required to operate and maintain all my technology is making my hair fall out and triggering my rosacea. I’m eating far too much ice cream to cope with the stress and sleeping far too many hours to remove myself from the pressure of keeping abreast of technology. We won’t even mention my wine consumption.
It is so tempting to just pull the plug on everything, put the kettle on for a nice pot of tea, and retire to my backyard La-Z-girl to read my pile of hard copy library books. I wouldn’t suggest you disturb me because I’m more than a little cranky these days. I realize that ultimately I have to sit my old derriere down and work through these problems myself. That will require patience and probably include a few bad swears.
So far, I’ve managed to get Alexa speaking to me again, set up the voice mail on both our cell phones, found the British programs I was having trouble with on my Firestick and . . . as a bonus, thanks to my friend’s husband Mike, I learned how to get close-captioned subtitles for those same British programs so I don’t miss a word they’re saying. That doorbell thingie is next on my agenda. And, NO, I am not interested in acquiring a smartwatch as I have zero interest in monitoring my heartbeats, blood pressure, REM sleep hours, or calories consumed. Such a gadget would undoubtedly only increase my stress levels.
I will always have to hire outside help when I have programming or coding problems with my blog, but I’m making progress. We did manage to find our dog the other night when she ran away from home by tracking her on my iPad with the Air Tag I recently attached to her collar. I use the same device to track my husband. Life wasn’t this complicated for earlier generations, was it? Put the kettle on and pass the brownies, please. The next breakdown is just around the corner.