Category Archives: plugged in

There’s way too much Smart in my life

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There’s way too much Smart in my life

Over the past few years, I’ve managed to snatch the power back from my Smartphone, my Smarthouse, even those obnoxious Smartkids of mine, and become a Smartwoman.

But now I have a new foe and its proving problematic.

My Smartcar.

smart1This is the fourth time in a week I’m in my garage and standing outside my new car, anxious, a knot in my throat, a feeling of dread. Quite a difference from the love I felt at the dealership. It reminded me of the football players I liked in college.  They looked good on the outside until they spoke. Then I wanted to punch them.

Same for my new car.

I calm my nerves, take a deep breath, slowly place my hand on the door, and get in.

I push a button and the car turns on.

Champagne, anyone?

So far so good.

I hit the menu button and the computer screen lights up asking if I want the menu to smart2appear on the virtual cockpit.  I don’t want to fly over Russia, I want to drive to HomeGoods.

I sign into the car’s WIFI then synch my iPod to my car. I’m killin it here!  But in synching my iPod I can’t figure out how to synch my phone. They both use Bluetooth technology and one seems to be cancelling the other out. I feel like I’m in the car with 2 squabbling kids fighting for my attention. Which do I want more…music or phone?  I choose the iPod because it’s been 20 minutes in the garage, so at least I’ll have music while flying reconnaissance over Russia.  I sheepishly grab my bag of old technology and use the headset to synch to my phone.

My husband walks by and informs me I no longer need the headset.

Think of 2 words, people…I can’t repeat them.

I don’t need a Smarthusband.

Maybe I’ll have more luck with navigation: An alphabet chart comes up. 977valleyroadgilettenj. I’m unable to add spaces so I toggle down and I’m instructed to draw address on optional touchpad.  Excuse me?  Draw? On a touchpad?  What touchpad?!  I. Want. To. Go. To. HomeGoods! Not draw! Grabbing the bag of old technology, I find the Garmin GPS, plug it in, type the address (with spaces), and waa-laa….it calculates the trip. Thank you, Jesus.

smart3$10K extra for technology is so worth it, said no one ever.

My husband walks by, and notices the plugged in Garmin GPS.

This time he says nothing.

Smarter than Einstein, that one.

It’s been 30 minutes in the garage. Maybe I’ll skip Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, synching, flying over Russia, and just drive the damn car. So, I’m off. At a stop light the car turns off. My blood smart10pressure is up to 450. Miraculously I step on the gas and the car turns on, but a green foot with an arrow appears on the dash which means I’m going above the speed limit. My car obviously has a dual personality, morphing into my mother telling me to slow down. How much more did this cost me?

Mistakenly, I hit a button on the steering wheel and a voice in sotto voce asks what I want to do next. What I’d like to do next is punch the car in its virtual cockpit, but instead while pulling out a chunk of hair on my head, I loudly speak, “call smart6home.”  I need to apologize to my husband. Sotto voce informs me it doesn’t recognize my voice.  Then I come to a stop sign and the engine turns off.

My next car will be a golf cart.

Where was I?

Ah yes…HomeGoods.

So, I finally get to HomeGoods.  I buy the dishes I came for and try to swipe my points card which hangs on my key ring and realize I don’t have my keys. My Smartcar doesn’t require keys  to turn itself on or off.  Did I turn the car off?  Cripes, the car is so smart it may be at Burger King having a whopper by now. I leave the dishes and find my car. It is running and I swear its snickering.

I hit the same button I previously hit by mistake and in my own NOT so sotto voce speak, smart9go home. And it calculates the route home.  Cue a crazed woman with a bald spot on the right side of her head, doing the dab dance in the parking lot.

I feel hope.

Over the next few weeks, armed with a 425-page manual, various YouTube videos, on-line tutorials, trial and error, and yes, my friends, screaming at the dashboard/virtual cockpit, I snatch the power from the Smartcar and become a Smartwoman. I learn to synch everything, master steering wheel controls, the start/stop system, the optional touchpad, the instrument cluster, the virtual cockpit, navigation system, voice activation, cruise control, Apple CarPlay, programmed smart7Sirius, set my seats and synch the climate. I am familiar with 87 possible indicator lights.

I put my trusty bag of old technology back into the old car.

I am a Smartwoman.

Now if I can just find the keys to get into my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then/Now (back in the day)

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Then/Now (back in the day)

I noticed a sign outside a restaurant:

“No wifi.

Talk to each other.

Call your Mom.

Pretend it’s 1993

Live”

Normally I would agree.

grumpy1I have made of career of complaining about NOW and how it was better THEN. And based on all the positive responses I get, many of you feel the same.  But it’s like we have become our parents, grumbling and saying things like….

(Back in the day we didn’t need 600 on-line friends.  We had five or six who were from the neighborhood who didn’t need to plug into anything to have fun, and were usually waiting outside to play ringalerio).

There’s a lot of complaining about today’s technology and what it’s done to us on a personal and social level but I’ve started to embrace the fact that there are some real positives to being “plugged in”.

(Back in the day, we didn’t have texting.  Your boyfriend had to break up with you in person)

THEN, there was the telephone. NOW, there’s texting.  Without it I would never hear from my kids as much as I do.  Granted it’s embarrassing when I text something to my son that was supposed to go to my brother but as grumpy2soon as I see, “huh?” I know I’ve done something wrong.  It’s also clear that I’m not quite getting through to my mother (who calls me every day, sometimes a few times a day) on the difference between texting and FaceTime. Patience I remind myself.  It will help me get into heaven. My daughter says, “Nanny’s face keeps appearing on my phone during class”. Practice patience I tell her.  It will help you get into heaven.

(Back in the day we had to read a map).

NOW, I couldn’t live without GPS.

grumpy3THEN, I remember being in a constant state of lost. My blood pressure rising while valuable minutes slipped away. My way around this was 1-800-CALL-DAD but first I had to find a phone booth and hope I had dimes.  NOW, with GPS I’m never lost. My blood pressure remains constant while a sweet voice calmly recalculates without ever once saying “Lady, WTF?”  My husband asks, “Don’t you want to have an idea of where you are going before you head off?” No.  I do not.

(Back in the day we were happy with AM radio and the music was better).

NOW there’s my beloved IPOD. THEN I carpooled to middle school while a friend’s father insisted on listening to opera and wishing I had a pencil to stick in my eye. NOW I never have to listen to someone else’s music; not grumpy4to mention all the great music apps that I don’t mind paying for. And since everyone in my family, including my 84 year old Dad, uses my password to share their music stations it’s very eclectic to say the least. Think the following playlists: John Phillip Sousa, Lil Wayne, Rolling Stones, Judy Garland, Bix Beidebecke,  Country Fitness, Akon, 50 cent, Bruce, Broadway, Glenn Miller and NO OPERA.

But my all time favorite thing about NOW is Google search and my personal assistant, SIRI.  There’s something wonderful about typing the word eschatology on the dictionary app and instantly knowing what it means. (Back when I was your age we had to walk over to the shelf and use an actual dictionary).

grumpy5NOW, I can find a solution to getting oil stains out of a sweater, if it’s safe to freeze chopped liver, how to mix a Moscow Mule. NOW, we can look up a new drug for Alzheimer’s, listen to how a song is supposed to be played on the piano before practicing it wrong for 2 weeks, get a list for the best Caribbean vacation spots in December,  amazing hotels,  what they look like, and some reviews.  We can find the weather in Canberra and pack accordingly, track a flight, find cheap gas, check the NASDAC, reserve a cab, map the stars at night and know how to perfectly poach a chicken, …INSTANTLY!  (Back when I was your age we had to read a cookbook).

And these are just on my short list of what I love about NOW!  So instead of complaining about the disappearance of all that was THEN, make your own list of what you are better for NOW.  You might be happily surprised of all you have gained.

I was.

Then turn off your WIFI and go call your Mom. It will help you with your patience and getting into heaven.

grumpy7