Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Phony business never ends


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I'm not exactly tech savvy, as my husband will quickly confirm. So whenever it's time to decide whether we should upgrade our smart phones, renew our satellite TV service, change our internet carrier, etc., I play dumb and basically leave the decisions to him.

Of course, John will also tell you that, with me, there's really no "playing dumb" involved. When it comes to electronics, I'm just short of clueless.

I have learned to be fairly proficient with my laptop computer and with the internet. I'm also pretty good with my smart phone, after two years of practice.

Ah, but there's the problem. Just when I'm feeling competent with a device, we need new ones. Mind you that's using the word "need" rather loosely.

Recently we got our first DVR so we could begin recording TV programs. (I absolutely cannot miss another episode of Downton Abbey.)

John figured out how to use the DVR right away. I, on the other hand, am not even sure how to turn the thing on, let alone program it. I'm also perfectly okay with that state of affairs, now and ad infinitum.

Yes, I realize I should force myself to learn such things so I can use the equipment whether John's around or not. But, for me, learning how electronic gizmos work is right up there with elective surgery - thanks, but no thanks. I have better things to do with my time.

Part of the reason I feel that way is that no matter how I try to understand such things, unless I actually use the knowledge several times a day, I promptly forget it. And that means that each time I do use it I have to learn how all over again. Arrrrgh!

Fast forward to today - that magical time, every two years, when John and Verizon conspire to convince me that we "need" new smart phones. Mind you, I'm supposed to see this as an opportunity - a gift, if you will. And this year the whole charade is even worse than usual because the "anniversary" of our phone contract falls on Valentine's Day. How's that for ganging up on a girl?

So today, we spent most of the day bouncing back and forth between umpteen phone stores and just as many websites checking out cell phones and phone service plans. We asked all the necessary questions and got "hands-on" time with all the different models. Why did I never think of this as the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day? And my "gift"? A new gizmo I must now learn to use. The only thing I might enjoy less would be one of those giant useless teddy bears.

So now, like the 900-pound teddy bear in the room, my new "smart" phone sits there in the corner mocking me, daring me to pick it up and learn to use it, which I will have to do sooner or later. After all, a phone is not like a DVR. I can't leave it to John to operate the thing.

Ah, but the piece de resistance is that now I also get to help my mother decide what type of phone and phone service she should have. She's a great grandmother who just wants to communicate with her two children, five grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. But these days "communicate" means talk and text as well as take and share photos. It would also be nice for her to have some easy online games, and she really should have that one-button, 24-7 emergency service, and.yes, I'm the one who'll have to teach her how to use it all.

God help us both.

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