Archive for October, 2010

Technophobe

Posted: October 25, 2010 by S. Trevor Swenson in Me & Mine
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I am a technophobe. I am afraid of new technology. Actually I am afraid of old technology also. Not too long ago I went to Orlando Florida only to return to find that all the clocks in my bedroom had stopped working over the weekend. This was distressing as I need my alarm clock to wake up for my dreaded morning classes. I try to schedule as few morning classes as possible. It’s interesting as often my morning classes turn out to be my favorite, despite that whole getting out of bed thing. I was further upset that one of my prized possessions; my Cookie Monster “Time For Cookie” clock was also stuck at 5:10 with the second hand having a perpetual petit mal seizure. The Cookie Monster clock was a gift from my friend Tiffany and the beauty of the clock was that it was quite literally always “time for cookie”. Sadly, now cookie time only occurs twice a day and often at times when I am not in a position to indulge.

After hearing of my clock issues a friend mailed me an iHome iPod/Clock thingy. I love getting presents in the mail. I am like a child at Christmas. I check the weight and texture of the box, I shake the package and try and determine what new toy I am getting. The iClock thingy looked complex. First I stationed it on my kitchen table on a pile of bills. When I came home I would glare at it suspiciously. The person who was kind and thoughtful enough to send it to me kept inquiring about the gift. She is quite aware of my aversion to new technologies and was very understanding when I told her “It looks complicated.” One must remember that I say the same things about microwave ovens, toasters and other complex machinery. As one does when they give a gift she has kept at me about it. “Have you opened your present yet?” I felt I shouldn’t lie in this instance. It would be an insult to her thoughtful generosity, so I told her what I had done with the clock thus far.

“I put it on the floor in the center of the room” I told her. “I circled it suspiciously batting at it occasionally with my paw. Then I sniffed it, tipped it over and ran back to my room”. She listened patiently. “I came back a couple hours later and it hadn’t moved so I put it back on the table”.

Now she sends me instant messages daily asking if I have opened it. “No, but I will” I reply. Tonight I finally opened it. Sure enough there was an instruction manual roughly the size of a Tokyo phone book. I knew it!!! I hate instruction manuals. My mom would buy me Legos and Lincoln Logs as a child and I enjoyed them, as long as I didn’t have to contend with the instructions. I’d wing it. I would make my log cabin or Lego abortion clinic on my own. Sure there’d be a few pieces left over, but I was happy and that’s all that matters.

After opening the box I held it using just the tips of my fingers and sporting a facial expression of confusion, suspicion and mild disgust, like it was a combination calculus problem written on a soiled diaper. I put it back in the box, but it wouldn’t go back in properly. I shook it and shrieked at it. Finally it went back in. I put it back down and growled at it again.

I hate technology.

No Limit To My Impatience

Posted: October 5, 2010 by S. Trevor Swenson in Me & Mine
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I was just talking with someone whom I wanted to see, but who is too far away to see without a trip to an airport and a visit to priceline.com. “Why aren’t there teleportation devices?” she asked. It dawned on me that if there were teleportation devices it would take me less than a month to start complaining about them. I already rant and rave about cell phones and text messaging and the lack of etiquette and annoyances associated with them to anyone who will listen. Sadly, no one listens really, which is probably for the best as it just encourages me. Why do people have cell phones and not answer them? Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? Then there are the people who can’t bear to be incommunicado for more than 15 seconds, who have to subject everyone within ear shot to every bit of their personal business. Cell phones weren’t enough. There had to be text messaging, so that we could reach the people who weren’t replying to their medium of constant communication. It’s almost a good idea. It would mean that people can get a message immediately when they are in a tunnel or are conversing with someone else. However, texting generally consists of banal messages that don’t need to be delivered while obstructing others in hallways or sidewalks. “Where U At” is not necessary information vital to one’s life. The only time people seem to meet in person these days is to determine why they have been ignoring other people’s cell calls and text messages.

If there were teleportation devices ala Star Trek or The Fly curmudgeons like myself would waste no time at all picking apart peoples appalling lack of teleportation etiquette. I’d piss and moan about little old ladies taking 2 minutes to get into the device making me 120 seconds late for my dinner date in Thailand. I’d rage about having to go through the metal detectors with idiotic and apathetic TSA employees holding me up to see a movie in London, or accidentally dropping me off in Lisbon. I can quite literally hear myself bitching to my friends and family. “What is wrong with these cretins? I know they both start with “L”. . . maybe these pea brains need a picture . . . I had to spend 5 minutes in Portugal behind some dipshit who couldn’t figure out the intricacies of a metal detector!”

That’s another interesting aspect of being curmudgeonly . . . We (curmudgeons) will complain about new solutions to problems. Here’s a quote to remember me by . . .” Necessity is the mother of invention, and invention is the mother of complaint.” The first part isn’t mine of course. I am a bit of a history buff, and can easily picture myself throughout human history kvetching about every new development. I clearly picture myself in Ancient Rome, with a black toga, named Grumpus Maxiumus complaining about how long the damn aqueduct is taking. “Lazy ass slaves . . . just look at them sitting around, why doesn’t that idiot use the whip . . . that’s what it’s for . . . I’m going to write to my senator.” Fast forward to the Old West with me in overalls . . . Farmer McGripe yelling at some poor hapless telegraph office clerk and fuming over sending a telegraph back east to ma and pa. “What do you mean the line is down . . . well send it via Chicago then brainiac . . . I could have ridden my ox team there and back in the time it takes you to dot and dash a simple “Crop failed . . . Send Money” message. What? Who’s your supervisor Rain Man??”

I would have complained about it all, from the invention of the wheel to the telephone. I have bitched about busy signals with the same gusto as I pull my hair out over call waiting and caller ID. It’s all part of the universal (formerly the international) conspiracy to piss me off.