I have a new job. It is called being old, and it is a full-time position.
Degeneration and decrepitude contribute to the time consumed by aging, but sometimes it is just an issue of being born during a much earlier era.
Today I tried to figure out why my calendar doesn’t sync between my phone and my laptop. I’m sure a digital native would find this all pretty easy, but I’m a pre-boomer and the technical classes I took in college involved finding logarithms with a slide rule. That is not a skill that generalizes to my iPhone or computer.
So I googled. I read. I tried. I watched YouTube. I tried again. And again.
I failed to sync my digital life.
Then I called Apple Care and the sink-hole for my time started swallowing me in gulps.
To get started, I needed to enter my IMEI number into their system, but apparently, I had trouble entering my 15 digit number correctly. After two attempts, I was told I’d need to speak with a representative to help me with the number. Or maybe Apple just wanted me to think that the delays I was about to experience were all my fault for clumsy typing.
Eventually, I got to talk with a live representative who called me “Ms. Suzy” which made me wonder if that differential treatment was in recognition that Susan was a popular name in the 1940-50s. Maybe she was just acting solicitous while she rolled her eyes as I tried not to sound confused. I wondered if she would have called me Ms. Rumi, or Ms. Suri, or any other Ms. that didn’t seem like it was attached to an old lady.
But whatever. I needed to quit speculating and focus on getting help.
After giving the representative my “call back” number, we proceeded to the point that I had to tell her I couldn’t see the menu choices she was suggesting for me in iTunes on my computer.
When I affirmed again that I didn’t see the options she was suggesting, Ms. Representative asked to be excused so that she could get help, “To serve you better.”
I knew I was a challenging case at that point, so I readily said, “I can wait.”
When the representative returned, she tried another approach to helping me with all new voice prompts. But, Ms. Suzy still wasn’t finding her phone identified on iTunes.
“Ms. Suzy, do you mind if I put you on hold again so I can get some better suggestions for you?”
“No, I will appreciate the help.”
During the wait, I suspected that I would be writing about all of this, so I googled my computer to see how I could use it to take a photo of frustrated me. You can see that PhotoBooth and I didn’t do a great job, but I succeeded in doing something that I wanted to do with my computer. As I waited, that was a nice crumb of digital affirmation.
While I was checking out the photos I’d taken, the silence of my hold on the phone was broken by a dial tone and it became evident that the representative would never return. She didn’t use that call back number I had given her either. She probably figured that two frustrated people were one too many and she would be gracious and disappear.
While I absorbed my situation, I realized that at some point soon, I’m going to have to go to an Apple store in a neighboring state to sync my calendars so that I don’t have any appointment lapses. This inconvenience is particularly irritating because before this, I used Google Calendar and my life stayed in sync without difficulty. But, I switched to Apple so that I could use Siri for all my digital activities. I’ve got things set up so that Siri can manage my bedroom lights, tell me the time in the dark without glasses, make appointments, and take voice memos. She just doesn’t sync them.
I’ve thought about going back to Google, but earlier I’d tried Alexa on a visit to my son’s, and I found that Alexa was one too many digital assistants for me to remember in the middle of the night. So I’ve decided to cast my lot with Siri and whatever she can do for me. But until she does it for all my devices, I’m a schizo.
I will have to remain a fractured soul for now. For the rest of the day I need to focus on rehabbing from my age-related surgery, get in my 10,000 daily steps with some intervals to work on cardio, do specific exercises for my back issues at home, go to gym to focus on strength, recover from the gym, rub on arnica cream, and do a whole rehab stretching routine.
After all that exercise and therapy is finished, I will try to squeeze in joyful activities that don’t involve this aging body or my technology-challenged brain.
But alas, when the leisure time finally comes, I only want to take a nap.