Technical Support

Tech supportI was watching the Facebook on the desktop in my parents’ house. When nature called I grabbed my tablet to bring along because, you know, I can’t miss a minute of the Facebook. Someone might like a video with a cat fighting linoleum or a person pouring ice water over their heads.

And I didn’t want to miss it.

I came back, sat down and looked right into almost the exact same screen with the exact same information as had just been on the tablet. And then I reached out and tried to scroll the desktop screen with my thumb. It didn’t work and I tried again. Only after a moment did I realize I couldn’t do it.

Embarrassment was afoot, nothing new, but I was a little concerned. For this was not a singular occurrence in my life as of recent. It’s occurred to me that I am forgetting how things work without technological privileges. My brain and muscles are forgetting how to do things on their own.

This is most obvious with the introduction of a tablet to my life. Since the tablet finishes words for me as I type, I am forgetting how to spell. But that’s not all. It finishes my words, so I am getting used to typing two letters of a word and then waiting for the rest to be presented on a linguistic platter. This is the same with phrases, so this morning while writing on the desktop, I typed:

in or

and then waited in a huff for the computer to finish my phrase with der to

And did it work? No su

Oops, I mean, no such luck.

But there’s more. A friend of mine tried to use a paper magazine as a flashlight the other day. My sister and I (both Kindle owners) have both tried to highlight passages and words in actual paper books by utilizing the cursor. I’ve tried to look up the meaning of a word in a paperback by moving the cursor in front of the word. Note: paperback books rarely, if ever, come with cursors.

There are apps for everything. There are apps to remember your information, remind you to do things, and tell you how to exercise. There is a reading app called Spritz which claims to help a person “quiet their inner voice” so that they can read more quickly. It passes the words in front of a reader’s eyes in small chunks and at a rate they can handle. They claim that if a reader doesn’t “spritz for a month, no practice is needed to return quickly to your previous speed or skill-level.”

Practice? I am going to have to practice reading at my level again? That’s just what I need to do, relearn how to read in my early forties. I am already relearning how to type, spell, and remember my family’s birthdays.

What does this mean for the future of humankind? Are we going to forget how to do every day basic things like write, remember, spell, and read? Maybe in a few years we’ll have our own robot monkeys, whose goal is to be your cognitive center. They’ll remember things for you, write your emails, and read books, just filling you in on the need to know information that comes out of them.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol: Be generous, donate to charity, don’t answer the door for a guy named Jacob on Christmas Eve.

But this is not confined simply to reading and writing. I recently walked into a pub’s bathroom and walked out when the lights didn’t come on. Then I walked back in. Darkness. I sniffed indignantly as I felt my way along the wall towards the urinal. When the guy came in behind me and flicked on the light, he gave me a look of true concern.

Fortunately, I remembered to flush by hand. Still, I knew I had a problem.

I wonder if people forgot how to walk up steps when escalators came around.

I don’t know, folks, go

Damn! I mean, good luck!

What else are we going to forget how to do?

  1. #1 by Kristin on August 22, 2014 - 10:14 pm

    Two months ago we had our kitchen redone and got those fancy “European closure” cabinets and drawers, the ones that you just push a bit and they sllloooowwwwlllyyy close on their own. I now cannot close a cabinet without expecting it to do it on its own. I have been closing cabinets properly for 38 years and after two months it’s like I have forgotten how. Also, how are people going to know I am annoyed & frustrated with them if I can’t slam cabinet doors?! Stupid European technology. (p.s. long time reader, first time commenter and our moms are cousins)

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on August 22, 2014 - 10:18 pm

      Hi Kristin! Thank you for reading and now thank you for commenting. I know what you mean, we have those in our kitchenette at the university and I have left open 100 cabinets since I’ve been back in the US. Also, I have walked into doors you actually have to push open. haha. Thank you again! Be nice to those cabinets!

  2. #3 by leslie donovan on August 29, 2014 - 7:08 pm

    Opening night at Shiloh was unusually, bitterly cold for November in Pittsburgh. You should have seen me trying to operate a wall-mounted 1972 thermostat as a touch screen. I had to go ask for help. I still haven’t lived that down.

    • #4 by Damien Galeone on August 29, 2014 - 7:18 pm

      Yes, and right now I’d give $40 to have seen that!

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