Upgrading smartphones really is an adventure

Pat Van Dyke Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Pat Van Dyke
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Dear Canyon Lake Readers,

My life has always been one challenge after another. Some have been very interesting and I learned much. I’m always open to learning new things; but when it comes to technology, I tread very carefully.

A few days ago, Pastor Pete and I finally decided to upgrade to new cell phones and say goodbye to our “elderly phones.” For the past six months, my cell phone has been slower waking up and staying charged. As a senior citizen, I can totally identify with my smartphone. Now that I am retired, I am slower waking up and, by 7 p.m., my charge is totally depleted.

Upgrading anything has always been an issue in our house. Pastor Pete is an advocate of doing things the “old way.” It’s not that we didn’t know that we were due for an upgrade. We had been receiving reminders for the past year; but I view these the same way I view reminders to have my teeth cleaned – I just don’t do it and maybe it will go away!

Anything “smart” scares me! First, we had smartphones. But not far behind were smart televisions, smart washers and dryers, and soon, smart refrigerators. Soon, my entire kitchen will have an IQ higher than mine! I plan to go into therapy to deal with my low self-esteem due to the fact that my coffee pot is more intelligent than I am.

Putting aside all of my issues of “smart appliance-driven low self-esteem,” I decided to upgrade my cell phone, confident that “I can do it!”

Pastor Pete, not having a great deal of experience with technology, decided to go with me and also upgrade his smartphone. We arrived at the store with all of the necessary items so that we could be ready for our cell phone store adventure. The night before, I had put blankets, warm coats, food, water, sleeping bags and a Coleman stove into our car. We were ready for the usual “short waiting time.”

We entered the store and walked past a display of “Low Budget Flip Phones” and I suddenly had a longing for my old flip phone. It was the perfect size, rang loudly and had buttons that you actually pushed – and all it did was receive and send phone calls. It didn’t text, vibrate, do math or search the internet. All it did was ring! It had served me well; but several years ago, I gave into “elderly peer pressure” and chose to upgrade to a smartphone.

I do have to complement the sales persons at the cell phone store. They have to be a special kind of person: patient, kind and long-suffering. “Long-suffering” is the key word.  We entered the store at 10 a.m. and left at 12:20 p.m.! A very patient young man stayed with us the entire time.

Choosing the smartphone was a non-issue, but deciding which “bundle” to select, agreeing to a “new plan” and getting everything transferred was a challenge. And then there was the difficult task of teaching Pastor Pete and me how to use the phone. We both have problems hearing and figured if we both listened, one of us would “get it.”  We didn’t realize that one of us also had to remember it!

The long wait really started when I was asked for my Gmail passcode (which I never use) so that my old information could be transferred to my new phone. Canyon Lake Readers, you really have to know what an impossible task it is for me to remember a passcode.

I have so many passcodes that I have them printed on three sheets of paper (25 passcodes per sheet) and keep well-hidden in my closet (so well-hidden that sometimes I don’t even know where they are). I am on “passcode overload!”

To add to the confusion, many of my passcodes are in Dutch (actually Frisian, which is a dialect of Dutch). So, not only do I have to remember it in English, I also have to translate it into Dutch! And this young man wants me to remember my Gmail passcode? Oh, fooey!  (That’s Frisian for “Oh, Darn!”)

He then attempted to show me how to change my Gmail passcode so that I could get into my old cell phone. Finally, he gave up and changed it himself. With all of this completed, I then had to delete the old passcode from my list of passcodes that I kept on my computer.

But before I could do that, I had to remember my computer passcode so that I could use my other passcode to open the file that held my password-required files so that I could use another passcode to open my passcode sheets and actually replace the old passcode with the new passcode.

By the time everything was completed and we left, we had spent so much time with the sales staff that I now have an entirely new group of Facebook friends. I invited them to our house for Thanksgiving dinner!

The real test came when we got home and attempted to install our “apps.” We flunked! We touched, swiped, pushed and clicked but all to no avail. At last resort, we decided to read the instruction book – and then discovered there was no instruction book. You have to use the internet to discover how to do everything.

I give up!! I can’t remember my passcode for the internet! Oh, Fooey!!

Until then, Canyon Lake Reader, I remain, Pat, the Prolific, Part-Time Philosopher


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