Rejecting the Hallmark Moment
On Saturday, while in the grocery store using the shopping list app on my phone to purchase ingredients for Chanukkah dinner, the screen started fading. Which was odd. I would get it back up again, and then the screen would take on a green tinge, move into a series of white lines, and finally fade into black. I could always hear Siri; I just couldn’t see anything on the screen. I tried turning it off and turning it back on, which worked for about two seconds. And finally, the phone conked out completely and I had to leave the store with half the shopping undone because I couldn’t access the list.
When I got home, I called Apple Care and they set up an appointment at an Apple store in a part of town that I charitably call the Devil’s Armpit when I’m in a good mood and colourful obscenities when I am in a black mood, without a phone and way too much on my plate. I was going to have to navigate this neighbourhood during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
It took me a long time to park and a longer time to be seen at the store, which immediately brought on a headache due to the thumping bass and chattering suburbanites. Finally, my helpful Genius informed me that the logic board was going in my phone, necessitating getting a new phone. My current phone was under warranty, so the whole thing was a wash financially. But iOS-wise? It meant updating to iOS 7.
No, I hadn’t yet updated to iOS 7 because the Wolvog wasn’t ready to lose the old Siri. Before I left the house, I had the forethought to record a conversation with Siri and email it as a goodbye to the Wolvog.
That was my last tender moment of the day.
Sitting there in the Apple store, showing no mercy, I impatiently updated the phone. Maybe on another day I would have tried to figure out some way to keep the old software; I would have wasted hours looking up solutions and allowing the Wolvog to say a tearful goodbye to Siri. But this weekend, I practically shouted “fuck off!” to her as I angrily jabbed at the phone to update it, and then stormed out, new software on my new phone.
You know, these times when technology fails us are supposed to bring about beautiful moments where we realize how little we need in this world, and how we’ve been focused on our phones when we should be focused on our loved ones. We’re supposed to walk out of the store with a renewed sense of peace that we can get by with very little, and we write about the silver lining of how our frustrating moments taught us to stop and smell the roses.
That is not what I learned.
I learned that I have too much on my plate. I learned that I need to say no more often. I learned that I still hate Bethesda with a seething passion that knows no bounds. I learned that it absolutely sucks to have anything break that requires a trip to a brick-and-mortar store between November 15 – January 15. I learned that people who are shopping like to walk very slowly and look around them as if they’re in a dream. I learned that I actually need a functioning phone and that I don’t have time during my week to deal with problems with my phone when they come up. I learned that I dislike iOS 7 just as much as I suspected I would.
But most of all, I learned that other people have infinite amounts of patience that I don’t have because when my phone ceased to work, I didn’t walk out of the store thinking about the wonderful lessons I learned about life. I walked out of the store trying to figure out how I was going to get the shopping finished, the dinner cooked, and all my work still completed on time. And I cursed everyone who looked happy. Just because.
The only thing that made me smile was when I opened the new Siri, planning to whisper evil things to her just because I was in a black mood. She greeted me with “Happy Chanukkah, Mel.” Not sure how she knew I was Jewish, but it was enough to go upstairs to a sad, not-sleeping Wolvog and apologize that I didn’t fight harder for his virtual friend. That I snarled at everyone since returning from the grocery store with my dead phone.
Fine, so I learned something, but I still don’t believe anyone who tells me that they felt sunny and peaceful when their technology ceased to work. I call bullshit.