• 66°

A look at impersonal technology

As a grumpy old man, I complain a lot about cell phones.  At the post office the other day, they told me that they just had a woman purchasing a money order who would not get off the phone long enough to give them the information needed.  Well, the irony of this negative view came into play on Father’s Day.  The daughters gifted me with a “smart phone.” And boy, does it make me look dumb. I have spent all my spare time (which is 24 hours daily) trying to learn how to use it.  Regarding texts, it takes a finger the size of a toothpick in order not to hit 2 letters at the same time. And ironic again, my friend Hollis down in Pensacola just emailed me his diatribe on the subject.  I feel his pain.  The rest of this column is his take on impersonal technology.

When I bought my Blackberry cell phone, I thought about the 30-year mobile home dealership that I ran with all those employees while also working for Monsanto Company full time  And all this without having a cell phone that plays music, takes videos, pictures and communicates with Facebook and Twitter. I signed up under duress for Twitter and Facebook so that my two kids, their spouses, and four grandkids could communicate with me in the modern way. I figured I could handle something as simple as Twitter with only 140 characters of space.

That was before one of my grandkids hooked me up for Tweeter, Tweetree, Twhirl, Twitterfon, Tweetie and Twittererific Tweetdeck Twitpix and something that sends every message to my cell phone and every other program within the texting world!

My phone was beeping every three minutes with the details of everything except the bowel movements of the entire next generation. I am not ready to live like this. I keep my cell phone in the garage in my tool box.

The kids bought me a GPS for my last birthday because they say I get lost every now and then going over to the grocery store or pharmacy. I keep that in a box under my tool bench with the Bluetooth (but it’s red) phone I am supposed to use when I drive. I wore it once and was standing in line at Barnes & Noble talking to my wife and everyone in the nearest 50 yards was glaring at me. I had to take my hearing aid out to use it, and I got a little loud.

I mean the GPS looked pretty smart on my dashboard, but the lady inside that gadget was the most annoying, rudest person I had run into in a long time. Every 10 minutes, she would sarcastically say, “Re-calc-u-lating.” You would think that she could be nicer. It was like she could barely tolerate me. She would let go with a deep sigh and then tell me to make a U-turn at the next light. Then if I made a right turn instead, well, it was not a good relationship.

When I get really lost now, I call my wife and tell her the name of the cross streets and while she is starting to develop the same tone as Gypsy, the GPS lady, at least she loves me.

And oh! That On Star thingy in my car. I always get the button you are supposed to mash to get information from that lady confused with the garage door opener.