Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Fix Is In

A long time ago, a boyfriend and I moved into an apartment. I took the first shower, and the water didn't drain. I chucked in some Drano and some Mr. Plumber and all I got was a big tubful of toxic soup. I poked at the drain with a stick, to no avail. It was jammed. We called the landlord. He sent out a guy.

The guy squinted at my toxic soup with disgust and brought out a snake and got nowhere with it.  He was baffled for a moment, then he looked at the handle on the wall and turned it, and everything whooshed out at once. Boy howdy, I'd never seen a bathtub drain stopper in a wall like that! The plumber looked at my boyfriend, and my boyfriend looked at me, and back at the guy, and my boyfriend said "As God is my witness, I didn't think she was that stupid."

Don't get all worked up on my behalf, ladies. My honest reaction was: Aww, honey. Really? You didn't? I was touched.

Because I'm really not good at figuring things out. Sometimes I do fix things, but I'm squirrelly about it. I can't go from A to B without involving the rest of the alphabet. Nothing is ever obvious. If I were the little Dutch boy, I'd stand back and hurl a basket of gummy bears at the dike until something stuck. I've solved the exact same problems dozens of times and the process never seems to shorten up.

No surprise that come the digital revolution, nothing much changed. I've improved somewhat in that it takes me a little longer to get pissed off. I have just enough confidence to Google a problem and scan the results, even though it is rarely helpful. There's usually a forum. Someone has had the exact same problem I have. Someone else tells them to go into the HTML and find the phrase "Call Me Ishmael" and replace it with a piece of code. The first person says "Thanks, MobyMan! That took care of it." I go into my template and Ishmael is nowhere to be found. Instead it says "Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin."

I'll follow all nineteen steps in a Mail Merge Wizard and right at the end when I click on the last bit and my mailing labels are supposed to shoot out into the room, a portal to the underworld will appear instead, with a gif of a bony hand reaching out and the text "Do you want to continue?" and no, I don't, I don't.

Basically, I can't see the screen for all the pixels.

So when my phone refused to load the weather app, I Googled it and slalomed through all sorts of conflicting advice, and an hour in, just before deciding to un-install several demons I'd never heard of before and might or might not actually be possessing my phone, I thought: Or I could go next door and see if Noah can help me. Noah is a Young Person.

"My weather app won't load," I said, catching him up with all my efforts so far, so as to save him the trouble, and meanwhile, he stood there patiently with his hand out waiting for me to hand him my phone, and finally I surrendered it, and he turned it on, and then--oh, what's the word for a tiny amount of time? An infarction of a second? A gramlet? A cubit? Oh yeah, a nanner-second--in under a nanner-second, he said "You're in airplane mode."

I did think better of mentioning that I couldn't be because I was not on an airplane.

40 comments:

  1. Recently, we had to order a component for our washerless faucet online. For whatever reason, the guy needed a picture of our faucet sent to him in order to see what kind of doohickey (that's the technical term) would fit it. We don't have smartphones and we don't text. We have flip-phones, and could take a picture of the faucet, but could not get it sent to his e-mail address. We tried sending it to our e-mail address with no better luck. Finally, just through punching random buttons, my husband managed to send it to our e-mail. From there, I managed to attach the picture onto an e-mail and send it to the guy. The entire process took up most of an evening, whereas a competent person -- even with our outmoded technology -- would have managed to send it off with no problem. I feel your pain.

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    1. Oh dear. You're worse than I am. That is not good. Well, I only know a few things about computers and next to nothing about phones, but I have gleefully emailed pictures of personal parts to my doctors. I think that's cool. Next time I'm going to pose in a come-hither position and dangle my arm mole in the foreground.

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  2. That shower drain story -- I did the exact same thing with an unfamiliar tub drain. I didn't call a plumber, but I did create that toxic mix you describe. The toxicity drained slowly and a day or so later it did occur to me to flip that little lever. This happened recently and I am no young thing. The chrome has never recovered.

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    1. Oh you have no idea how happy this makes me. A Dunderhead Sister!

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  3. This all sounds way too familiar. I would have written a witty, entertaining post at the end bu all I can usualy type is four-letter-words which are not the kind you find in a Winnie the Pooh book.

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    1. Probably why Dorothy Parker said Winnie the Pooh made her want to fwow up.

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  4. My eight-year old granddaughter is my IT person when I am visiting in Texas. She doesn't even hesitate. It's sort of humiliating.

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    1. At times like those, I like to imagine what she is going to be completely befuddled about when she's old. Whatever it is, it's going to be something. Oh! What if we all have to go back to the really olden days (this is quite plausible to me) and she and her cohort are all standing around staring blankly at butter churns and oxen yokes?

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    2. Perhaps they'll milk the bull...

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    3. Or won't know how to use a rotary phone or a card catalog!

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    4. Jeez, I miss the card catalog. I could fly through those things.

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  5. Laughed like a damn fool throughout this entire post. Thank you. I feel a whole lot less lonely over here in nimrod land.

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    1. At least nobody bothers us to come fix something. These competent folks are run ragged every day.

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  6. Hell, I don't even try with 'electronics'...I have a flip phone (threw the company blackberry away when I retired) and a laptop.
    In '71 when Cary and I lived in Boring, we bought a new Land Cruiser. At 5K miles I decided I could do the tune up. Changed plugs, new thingies in the distributor, timing, etc. Wouldn't start. A nephew finally drove over from Bend, spent an hour, admonished me to never open the hood again, and drove back.

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    1. Who was that comedian who said when his car broke down he always put the hood up and looked at it with a thoughtful frown, but what he was really looking for was a giant On/Off switch stuck on "Off?"

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  7. A wall handle for a drain stopper? I've never heard of such a thing.
    Has your phone been flying around the country without you?

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    1. I'm not as smart as my phone, but my phone isn't smart enough to do that.

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  8. Oh yes. Fortunately I have very little pride or shame. I can admit to my errors. And they are legion.

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    1. Some day we'll all live in a nice tight-knit community of old farts and we'll hire out all this stuff.

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  9. I love technology when it works but when it doesn't work I want to kill it. Googling rarely helps. I have to then Google every second word in the so-called solution, and then Google every second word of THAT, etc. There's not enough time in the universe for me to read all that.

    I never heard of a lever to work the drain, either. What country were you in?

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  10. I never would have thought to flip the lever, either but than, I'm 82!!

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    1. I'm pretty sure this bathroom with all its fixin's was older than 82.

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  11. I'm still snickering at nanner-second.
    I am of the tribe that gives the TV a good smack on the top to jiggle the tubes. I genuinely have to resist the temptation to do that with the computer, so I just hit 'enter' a zillion times, thinking that will work.

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    1. Every now and then it does work. Random reward, baby, random reward! Mostly it just makes the big spinny thing.

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  12. I had a friend whose car battery died while she was visiting us. My son went out and jump started the car, and off she went. The next day, she went and traded in the car.

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    1. I know someone who traded in her car when it got a flat.

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  13. lol funny, but please for all of you so inclined do not throw mixtures of chemicals into problems, death could be on the list...

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    1. I particular recommend against throwing sulphuric acid at anything. I can't remember any longer whether you must not throw it into water, or you must not throw water into it, so I just don't throw it anywhere.

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  14. I can relate to being a bit challenged, in the same arenas you find perplexing (bath tub drains, smart phone issues.)

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    1. ...but are you willing to publicly humiliate yourself? Oh wait, maybe you just did.

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  15. Sister, I feel your pain. Every time I have a computer issue I take ibuprofen as a cautionary measure, reserve an afternoon, and still, end up throwing the damn thing across the room.

    I'm a musician and recently I did a show at a retirement community. I told them you could download my songs at iTunes and they looked at me blankly. Then I suggested they ask their grandkids for help. I got the expected laugh but I know some of them will really do that.

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    1. Uh. I've never downloaded a song. And every time I try to put in a tiny app on my phone, it has indigestion and retires to the fainting couch until I delete a few photos.

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  16. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that I'm going to have to get a smart phone in the next couple of years. Time to start lining up a young person for emergencies! My neighbors have 3 young boys -- any one of them could probably fill that bill right now.... even the toddler.

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    1. Come to think of it, there are scads of little ones in this neighborhood. I should polish up my cookie-making skills. The kind they won't delete.

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  17. Just wondering, as you were going next door to get help loading the weather app, did you happen to look around and notice the weather? Me neither.

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  18. I feel like all those helpful forums are the biggest farce out there. I've consulted them many a time and I can't think of ONE instance where they were actually helpful.

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  19. I got the expected laugh but I know some of them will really do that.


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