First World Problems

Remember that scene in Falling down when Michael Douglas gets out of the car in bumper to bumper traffic on that highway in LA? So fed up of the grind and ready to kill? That’s me with my new smartphone. That they even call it a ‘smart’ phone makes me feel very dumb.

After fifteen years as a loyal Blackberry client, I decided they were ‘falling down’ in many ways as well; no apps, Instagram was called iGrann, lousy service etc. It was a long and volatile relationship.

So, I decided to join the the herd. I got a nice Samsung Galaxy A5. They’re all the same to me, but it was what the young whippersnapper at the store recommended and they know everything about digital technology, not to mention he made it look ‘so easy’ to use.

Believing him was my first mistake. I went home and played with this little rectangular block for a good 4 hours. All the cute notification sounds were fun, then…

The next day I was at mom’s visiting and taking her to a few appointments. During lunch my phone rang. I pressed the green phone symbol. Nothing. I pressed it again and again and again. Nothing. The message went to voicemail. We laughed. I interrupted lunch to message a friend. ‘How do I answer my phone!?’ In any given circumstance that’s an absurd question, but when you switch from a phone that actually works like a phone to an alien device, not so absurd. I got the instructions stat! I had to ‘swipe’. Sigh. One question down, 200 to go.

After returning to mom’s place we agreed we both deserved a hard-earned gin and tonic.  Her from the long hearing aid appt and me from my ‘smartphone’. It was 3:30pm. Who knew an electronic device could drive me to drink?

I got the hang of a few things until I went to text someone and noticed none of my contacts had phone numbers in them. I drove to the Freedom Mobile shop at 9am sharp. I had no change, so had to buy a scrubber from Home Hardware so I could get meter money. Put my $1.50 in (I figured it would take an hour). When I went to open the door I thought I’d dislocated my shoulder. Not open until 10:30 (!).  I eventually returned sometime that afternoon and there was a different guy working there. Charles was nowhere to be seen (the one that sold me the phone and made it look so easy). Ryan had ‘no idea’ (his words) how to switch the contacts from a Blackberry to an Android. I heard those same 2 words for the next hour after visiting 5 (!) phone stores in the area. I finally ended up in Gerrard Square – at Bell. Where I’d just cancelled my phone with them to go for the cheaper option. Didn’t seem to matter. All-knowing Thomas came to the rescue. And for the paltry price of a mango bubble tea. Hail Thomas.

So, I’m all set. Until I’m at home this morning and notice there’s a voicemail for me. “Hmmm, I didn’t hear the phone ring”, I say to myself. After several calls to Samsung and Freedom, Abdullah from the Freedom Customer Service Office in Egypt comes to the rescue. It was something to do with ‘Call Forwarding’. I’m going to have to start a ‘Hero Wall’ for anyone who can get me out of a phone jam.

Shortly after the phone is fixed, everything ‘seems’ normal. I am driving to show one of my listings to a client and her mom. En route I notice the music isn’t playing. I had set it up exactly right. Perhaps not. I drove there in silence waiting for the music. I pulled over, nothing. I rechecked the Bluetooth settings. All in. I can feel the volcano starting to erupt and thought better of letting it explode. I was nearly at my showing. I greet the young Shawna and her mom. We go into the townhouse and Shawna pulls out her iPhone and starts Facetime-ing with her will-be roommate Laura. I’ve never seen that in action, so that was fun. I tell them my story about the phone – a more condensed version – and mom pipes up. “Remember when you were 20 and everything was an adventure?”. Hmmm, yessss, I say. “I’m the same as you when it comes to digital technology. My older daughter told me one day, ‘just have fun with it. Press a button and see what happens’. I laughed. “Nothing frustrated us when we were 20″, she continues.” It was all fun and interesting and exciting. You have to look at things that way at our age – as an adventure.” After feeling my blood pressure rise to ‘danger levels’ over the past 72 hours, I decided to take the sage advice of Shawna’s mom and just chill. It’s a phone. It’s new technology. It’s not fun (right now) but it will be. After we part, I turn on the car, take a few meditative breaths, press play and the music works.


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