EDITORIAL: The Evils of Technology Dependence

Travel lovers and everyone else,

You are about to read of a harrowing experience, perhaps in more detail than you feel necessary. It is needed, however, to drive my point home and as a cathartic reminder for myself in future endeavors.

Speaking of driving home….

Before I speak of that, let me put a prologue to this story.

From the get-go, little things with my now four month old smart phone didn’t seem right. All minutia, really, but none of which could be solved by any online forum. That coupled with the fact that every time I go into my carrier’s store I never leave less than two hours later made me just work around these petty annoyances.

A system update resulted in several apps no longer working on my home wifi. They worked on mobile data and other people’s wifi, but not mine. I tried every online suggestion to solve it, even down to factory restarting the phone a few times, but to no avail. I decided to bite the bullet and visit my carrier after my Pennsylvania road trip.

The drive to Pennsylvania went well; I stopped at many interesting places and got lots of pictures with said phone. Because my computer is now a different system than my phone, photo downloading is a long and tedious workaround process that I was only doing on a post-to-post basis because of time.

Fast forward to the day I was to head back to town. That morning, I got out to my car to find the gerber daisy in my car vase wilted and 2 huge bird dropping splotches on my passenger side window. Annoyed, I started out for the long drive.

Little did I know that this was an omen for the rest of the day.

On the way out, I stopped at the local mall to get a phone holder for the car. After turning the volume down so the GPS would not yell at me while in the store, I had no luck in my search. My carrier had a storefront in the mall… and a disgruntled employee picket line in front of the door. Being the non confrontational person that I am, I decided it was not worth crossing the picket line and headed back to the car.

I pulled my phone back out of my purse to continue the trip and found the touch screen was no longer responding. All the regular buttons worked, but I could not do anything else. This includes restarting the phone because you need the touch screen to do this. Nothing was helping.

I knew I had to cross the picket line. With a resentful sigh, I avoided eye contact and trudged into the store.

Despite the store’s best efforts, they could not get the phone to work, either. They did not seem to believe me when I said this could not possibly be due to water damage. I offered to show them the inside of my purse and the lack of water in it, but they were not interested.

They submitted a request for a free phone exchange for me. Apparently, they can’t just give me another phone at the store right then and there, despite the fact that we all know they have them; the new phone would be delivered to my home address in a day or two.

I still needed to get home and was counting on the GPS to get me there. Trying very hard to keep my temper under control, I drove to Applebee’s and used their free wifi to google the directions, then scribbled them down in my notepad.

I realize I used to drive to and from Pennsylvania in this manner before, and even without any cell phone at all. However, the world was better equipped for this back then. There were more phone booths and people understood if you knocked on their door or walked into their business and asked to use their phone. Nowadays, many people may not have a landline and some are freakishly sensitive about other people using their cell phones. Now I was paranoid that something would happen to my car and I would have no way to call for a garage or a ride.

The store told me to try turning on the phone an hour to two later, so I did and found it was factory reset. Whether the store did this when they tried to fix it or I somehow did when I was pushing different buttons while the screen was black, I am not sure (I am gonna guess it was me). So the phone started up, but the screen still would not respond to anything.

It wasn’t until I got half way home that I also realized the factory reset means that most likely all of my photos for the remaining blog posts are gone. I won’t officially know until the new phone comes in and I plug in the card, but I am about 99% sure I am screwed.

So several of the next posts will have to be illustrated with photos from the internet, of the places that I can find them (and legally use them).

What does this all mean for all of us? Let me spell it out.

~ I apologize for the possibly photo quality of the next several blog posts.

~ Never put off backing up your necessary data! If you MUST have it for WHATEVER reason, back it up to your computer, your external hard drive, your online file storage system, wherever. You all will now probably miss out on my wearing pink bunny footed pajamas and a side by side comparison of film locations. Unless a miracle occurs…

~ When traveling, always have a map and learn how to read it. Remember how state road maps used to be free or really, really cheap? Yeah, now they’re $6 each! At least get yourself a road atlas and maybe print out the Google directions as well.

Never assume your technology is going to be there for you. It may crap out on you like birds on your car.

I feel like I knew all of this already, but apparently not. C’est la vie.

Until next time, dahlings…

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