By Suzanne Mills

No sympathy. Or was it empathy? Well, no pathy at all. The teen was giving me a look, “If you can´t operate your phone, tough.”

Such indifference toward the Droid challenged from the generation of Droid.

I continued the inutile fumbling and blushing, and blushing and fumbling. I muttered that I had only just purchased the phone and really did not know how to use it. She was unmoved.

And as I sweated to locate the info she needed, the phone was taking me for a ride, the screen horizontal then vertical then flip flopping again, and making a sound I’m pretty sure is digital guffawing. The thing was laughing at me. Because its operating system was in superior form to mine/mind.   

I guess I looked for that. I had played woman and bought the new-fangled devious device in Spain because everyone at home in Trinidad said I had to dispose of my relic of the last millennium, and though I hadn’t been at all embarrassed to pull out my old “powder compact” mobile, I had keeled under the peer pressure and purchased what one of my pals aptly calls, a smarty pants phone. And confident fool, I gave away the humble prehistoric model. With much flourish.

Then learnt I didn´t know how to turn smart alec on and could not locate the manual. I got a stranger-better than asking people you know- to show me how to start the infernal thing.

Since then I am humiliated every day by this diabolical cell and I want to know if it thinks I spent a tidy sum to be made an idiot of. I rescued it from a Spanish shelf before its life expired and this is how it thanks me. My old phone was my buddy-never tried to show me up. This one has a bunch of sexy symbols on its screen waiting to be caressed, and it is aware it looks good and that it´s bright, and to boot, it´s a serious stalker, tracking me 2407, so it knows where I am at all times. If it were human I´d take a restraining order out on it.

And when I think it´s on, it´s off- and reverse that- and then last week it wouldn´t dial at all, if dial is still the verb for how one gets a phone to connect to another.

Talk about mean-spiritedness. No sooner had the SIM card been installed, the darn phone rang. Exactly! It could have given a woman the opportunity to figure out how to use it. So I am poking at the screen and see some red waves then green waves and then some announcement lower down about responding with a message and the devil of a phone is bankrupting me because I don´t know how to answer it and have to call people back and tell tall tales like I was in the garden, as I can´t take the ole talk. And next thing I am on the no-fly list!?

After a few days of misadventure and with my right index indented, I went to a youth pardner for lessons. I thought he would be a little sympathetic- or is that empathetic? - but no pathetic from him whatsoever.

“Look if you don´t want the phone, I will take it,” he prodded.

Shame of shames! I should have asked the sympathetic stranger.

I wondered whether it was a generational thing; that I couldn’t go forward as I aged. But I feel differently about the touch screen laptops and I dote on smart TVs. And I am decidedly thrilled about the new driverless cars introduced in some parts of Britain this year.

My favourite coming attraction: the world of 3D. Virtual reality headsets used to cost thousands, now thanks to companies like Oculus soon enough we´ll be able to buy high quality gear for a few hundred dollars and enter the world of digital features. I tried one a couple of months ago and the experience was well, out of this world.

And though I worry that we are all really becoming plugged into the matrix, I still yearn to witness as many technological inventions of this 21st century that I can and want so much to be part of that future, I grasp at a collection of spiritual concepts such as karma and chakras and recycled energy, of which my knowledge is absolutely limited- but anything that will allow me to hope to be part of that technology to come.

Phones and me though, we just don´t see eye to eye or hear ear to ear. Never have. And this generation are show offs that don´t know their bounds. Nowadays using data at their disposal to predict what you need or want, they are experts at telepathy. But not a jot of sympathy. Or is that empathy?

March 6 2015

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