I'm Just Saying…

October 5, 2015

What I did on my Fall (Book Research) Vacation

I just came back from a vacation in Burlington, Vermont. I like Vermont. I’ve been there before. That’s one of the reasons I chose to use it for some scene settings for The Fixer series. I took day trips, finding places that will be useful for the books. For example, I visited a museum, and a farm. I saw sheep and goats and baby cows at the farm. I didn’t pet them, of course, because, you know, yuck. I think I’ve said all I need to. I took a boat ride, too.

Yes, my vacation/book research trip was a time to recharge the creative juices and come up with new ideas. I found it to be a pleasant, non-stressful, and relaxing experience.

Until my cell phone died.

No, I don’t mean the battery died and I needed to recharge the phone.

I mean, the cell phone died.

Think Monty Python and the Dead Parrot sketch. The cell phone was no more. It had ceased to be.

Shit.

There was a lot of this:

 

giphy

But, (and I want points for this), not this:

 

peter-finch-als-howard-beale

And definitely not this:

 

Okay, there was some of that but it was on the INSIDE.

Let me admit it now: I am not a technologically savvy person. At all. I use a computer because no one makes word processors anymore. I grew up with twelve channels on television, phone booths, and vinyl records. Vinyl. Does anyone remember vinyl????

Having said that…

While I don’t use 90% of what a cell phone can do, I am attached to my cell phone. I may not Instagram or Snapchat, but I do text, tweet, and Facebook post. I check my email, I take pictures AND text those pictures. I’m connected. My phone is never far from me, always within reach.

So, I’m in my hotel room when my phone wants to do a software update. My phone does what it wants without consulting me. I don’t like that.

So it updates.

And then everything goes to shit. How do I know something is wrong?

Because it keeps restarting itself over and over again.

And then there was some of this:

lily

NOT on the inside.

I tried to be reasonable about this. I wasn’t in a far off land, in the untamed wilds. I’m in Vermont. The state is classified as civilization. They have malls. I can verify this. I’ve been in one. Loss of my cell phone will not leave me wandering aimlessly, clothing shredded, hair disheveled, begging by the side of the road for some Good Samaritan to take pity on me. A few hours earlier, I had just eaten a breakfast of hot cakes (with real Vermont syrup), two eggs scrambled dry, and a fresh fruit plate.

Clearly, this industrialized nation, first-world problem does not qualify as a call to go to DEFCON 1.

But I don’t have my phone.

Listen to me: I’m not connected. Do you understand? The lines of communication have been severed. I’m cut off, do you hear me?

Cut. Off.

Just last week, I was driving into work, listening to the DJ’s conduct an experiment: they didn’t touch or even look at their phone for an hour.

Child’s play, people. Child’s play.

Now I’m sitting in the hotel room, bereft of my phone, flipping channels on the TV. I watch Dr. Oz instructing a woman to wrap up her phone and bury it in a container of rice (don’t ask me why, I turned it on in the middle of the segment). Then he gives the woman a cup of tea to ease her emotional anxiety because she doesn’t have her phone.

Cup of tea my ass. I started drinking. A lot.

But it wasn’t just the dying of the phone that made me pop a cork. Nope. It was what came after.

I need to contact my cell phone provider. No problem. I’m prepared. I have my laptop.

And that’s when the universe starts screwing with me.

  1. The wi-fi network is moving like it’s 1999.
  2. I get to the vendor website.
  3. The website refuses to load.
  4. I tap keys.
  5. Nothing happens.
  6. I hit keys with a vigorous, yet controlled force.
  7. Still nothing.
  8. Scripts are refusing to load.
  9. Websites are not responding.
  10. WTF?????
  11. I get a pop-up message.
  12. “Your browser is out of date.”

Of course it is.

Now, it was more like this:

meltdown-gif-lol

Still on the inside.

Why? Because I’m a babypants who wants the f&%@!g laptop to work so I can get my f$%@g phone fixed.

I decide to cool off and email a few people so they know why I’ve dropped off the grid.

  1. I open my email program.
  2. I tap to create an email message.
  3. I enter the recipient’s name.
  4. I can’t type the message because I can’t see the message box to write a message and the side bar to navigate to the message box is not there. It has gone bye-bye.
  5. I can’t email.

And then we moved on to this:

arnold_o_GIFSoupcom

Still on the inside.

I finally find a phone number for my cell phone service provider. I call. The representative is very nice. She speaks half to me and half to herself about what she’s trying to do to help me. I hear things like “Let me just see something else here,” and “Let me just check one more thing…”

I calmly thank her for her assistance and wait for her to finally come back on the line and explain to me there’s nothing she can do and the phone is crapped out and done.

Which she does.

She doesn’t use the phrase “crapped out.” That was me.

I give her the zip code where I’m staying.

There is no store in the area.

Of course not.

The rep explains that since I’ve been a good customer for twenty years (yes, you read that right) and my warranty only expired last month, they will send me a replacement phone, to my hotel, fedex delivery.

I thank her.

“What about my pictures?” I ask.

“Do you have a Google account to backup….”

tangled blah blah blah

I don’t understand a word she says. I translate what she says to mean this: You’re shit out of luck and you’ve just lost everything on your phone.

Why didn’t she just say that to begin with? That I understand.

I use the hotel phone and call my friend Rebecca to tell her, “No I’m not ignoring you or your texts,” and explain my predicament.

Rebecca asks, “Did you back up all your stuff on your phone?”

I explain that the rep tried to explain the backup process to me but she probably could have put her time to better use. Doing anything else.

Rebecca asks, “Do you have a Google account?”

“I think so.”

“Then what you do is….”

elaine%20yada%20yada

“I hear you speaking,” I say, “I know there are words coming out of your mouth but they’re not making any sense to me.”

She laughs.

I deserve it.

We hang up.

I decide to load the latest Internet Explorer version and attempt to send an email.

The universe decides to stand down from screwing with me and I get that done.

There is nothing to do but wait for the phone.

Day One: I feel lost and lonely, unsettled and anxious. I don’t even know what time it is. Who owns a watch? Who needs a watch? I have a phone. Sorry. I had a phone.

Day Two: My comfort level is slowly rising. I’m off the grid. I have no idea what’s going on with Facebook or Twitter. I’m okay with that.

Day Three: I am entering a phone free nirvana of centered calm. I am re-connecting to the human race and it’s a beautiful thing.

And now I was feeling like this:

happy dance

I feel the power. I feel the FREEDOM! I, like so many others, am too connected to electronics. We spend our lives looking down at our phones instead of looking up, looking our friends and loved ones in the eye, making contact and truly engaging in real dialogue and conversation.

This could be a turning point for me, a moment of true change and transformation, a moment of –

The hotel room phone rings.

It’s the front desk calling.

“Miss Rosenblatt, we have a package here for you…”

My phone. MY PHONE!!!!

 

What was I saying?

 

 

 

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