Beside the Point – Can we talk tech?

Opinion
CHUCK
VANDENBERG

I want to talk about my disdain for technology.

I know that seems oxymoronic to “talk” about technology…technology can do that for you.

I know that it’s extremely ironic, because this talk is being prepared with technology and is being consumed on, or even by, technology.

So yeah…I’m gonna trash the very means by which I make a living. I’m not, to use a Charles Barkley idiotic-ism, ‘scurred’. Technology can’t in itself, yet…punish me or seek any type of retribution on me. Karma however, is after me at light speed as I write.

My wife and I had lunch at one of our favorite sit-down, get-breakfast-any-time joints Saturday. We we’re genuinely enjoying each other’s company. My cellphone was at my right hand and hers was at her left. We weren’t ignoring each other, but they were there nonetheless.

I didn’t think much of it, really. I have three techno-geeks who I love dearly, but their main source of amusement and entertainment, aside from said gadgets, is laughing at their husband/father who, on an hour-to-hour basis, curses his pieces of futurama as “broken” and/or “stupid”.

Here’s my problem with them…other than the fact that I’m starting to see all children and most adults as suffering from “craneneck” and the almost abandonment of going “outside to play”. They’re too slow! I want things in life to go at my speed. Everything fast. EVERYTHING!

I touch a screen or touchpad or whatever you call it and it doesn’t respond. It’s no different, and I mean absolutely no different, than when I used to tell my girls to clean their room or help with the laundry and that command rarely worked. If I tell you to do something, I’m the boss, so you do it. Rob Thomas asks in his hit song Real World, “I wonder what it’s like to be the head honcho”, well it ain’t no picnic. If I want to switch from my key pad screen to the voice recorder screen, just do what I command..don’t sit there and go blank for five seconds. Stupid.

And if I want my Pandora to play in the background I just want that to happen. I don’t want the “P” to sit there and pound like a heartbeat, steadily increasing my own. (But, when I’m feeling real creative I can bring in my recordings of coach’s post-game comments over music. Friday night, the Holy Trinity girls basketball team was plagued by the shooting yips and Coach Tony Johnson’s comments came in over Nickelback’s “Are We Having Fun Yet?”. Now it’s a party.

The watch that I wear on my wrist is supposed to vibrate when I get a call or a message from my wife to bring Cream of Chicken soup home or stop by the pharmacy. Don’t get me started. It’s also supposed to show me the time when I shake my wrist. It just stares blank and black at me. Broken.

And why are there so many buttons on the side of my phone? Isn’t that where you hold the darned thing?. I have big hands and just holding the wretched thing in my hands sends it on an almost epileptic exchange of screens and usually I end up handing it to my wife and saying “How the hell did it get here?” Stupid.

My laptop is new. I have some software on it that apparently takes up like three mega-uber-teraflops of memory. We read the specs and knew we would need enough memory to do the dishes. Now, when I open a drop down window and stream down with my arrow, the options go black and I can’t see what I’m supposed to be selecting. So I literally guess…the dishes never got done.

I have a police scanner so I can bug local law enforcement. For the first week of getting the product it just read, “All LocOut” on the screen.  I read the freakin’ instructions. I did what it said, against the very grain of who I am, and nothing changed. I hit the scan button. Nothing. Broken and Stupid.

I called the customer service line. Twenty minutes later…literally 20 minutes later…a guy comes on. I explain what’s happening after I tell him, “Dude…you’ve got to change that hold music, I’m on hold for 20 minutes and I’ve got to listen to that?”

He apologizes and says they are very busy after the holidays and asks what he can do to help. I tell him it’s broken. Three minutes later I’m scanning. Stupid.

But I’m getting there. Can I ask a favor? When you see me out covering events in the community and see you see me shaking my wrist like there’s a giant wasp on it… or rummaging through my bag to find this gadget or that… or spinning around like a dog chasing its tail trying to get my God-foresaken cellphone in it’s hip clip. Just smile and shake your head.

It works for my wife.

About Chuck Vandenberg 1587 Articles

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