Technology ∞, Diane 0

The technology in my house is kicking my butt. Honestly, if the communications accoutrement team in my home and I were in the ring, it would be delivering flying, Jackie Chan roundhouse kicks to my groin and I’d be curled up in a fetal position protecting my head with a hardback book and a newspaper.

It’s in a ‘Vette on the Autobahn and I’m in a Barbie car stuck in a funeral procession, behind an Amish buggy and a tractor.

It’s president of the class, captain of the football team and the lead in the play, and I’m leaving my locker lock fake-closed, because I can’t remember the combination.

I think you get the picture (no thanks to my brilliant analogies).

My husband has been wanting a new computer and I’m dreading the moment that something happens that we have enough money to buy one. Because it will mean having to do stuff on the computer that will shine a light on how much I already don’t know what I’m doing. I’m faking it well, but only because I’ve memorized which buttons to push. When on the phone with tech support or in any conversation with my husband outside the bedroom, I crumble because I don’t know when I last emptied my cache of cookies.

“As delicious as that sounds, I’m not quite sure I remember. How full would it have been, and where would I have dumped it?” I asked the cable guy. "Is it possible that I ate them?"

While my computer-related possessions are in first place in the race to make me look stupid, my telephone technology is in a close second. We now have three home phone numbers from three different sources, which may not sound like a lot, except for the fact that we rarely use the house phone. It never rings. We get all of our calls on our individual cell phones.

Despite that, my husband has fallen in love with Magic Jack (no relation to Magic Johnson. And while we’re on the subject, why is his name not the punch line in more dirty jokes?). Magic Jack is a small device that looks like a prop from Mission Impossible, something that could stealthily be passed to a woman in a tightly cinched trench coat on a dark Berlin street, mostly because it has a clear front that shows a bunch of little squares and other blue, high-tech things inside there. It provides you with (no, not the secret recipe for making a bomb) a phone number that you can use to call anywhere in the world.

It is simple enough that my husband had to take it one step further and route it through a Google phone number and then forward our original home number to the Magic Jack and - oh shit. When the phone rings, I answer it and what else matters? Especially since it hardly ever rings?

He insists that this new phone system is brimming with advantages. One of them is that when we get a voice mail, I get an email with a transcription of the voice message.

The technology behind the transcription, however, is slightly lacking. If the Magic Jack is the Ritz Carlton Central Park, the transcribed voice messages are Econo-Lodge with tacky bedspreads and a damp, moldy smell, but with wireless and free danish. So it’s not perfect, but it could be worse.

I recently got an email on my iPhone telling me I had gotten a voice message at home. It was from Mike, the co-editor of a newsletter that I help with.  According to the message, December has been cancelled for this year (that is big news; definitely worth checking your email while running errands), Handeek is leaving his husband (and I was not even aware that Handeek had a husband. Who’s Handeek?), somebody made a five hundred dollar payment to get out of jail, and Jenifer is an issue. “So I think that’s about the 6,” he closed with. “Thanks very thing.”

I was tempted to put in an immediate call to Mike and say, “What is Handeek going to do now?  And when did you start talking like the Russian circus performers in Moscow on the Hudson?”

If we get the new computer, everything is going to get kicked up a notch. I believe that household technology is enmeshed in a symbiotic relationship and it feeds off of each others’ success. The phones will start answering themselves and making return calls, signing us up for flood insurance, putting me down for brownies for the band bake sale, and answering the Republicans’ surveys about how disappointed we aren’t in Barack Obama’s administration.

I’m going to just let techno-nature take its course and do with me what it will. I’ll be here, eating my cookies, so the cache doesn’t get full.

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