Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tales from the Technology Trenches

I’m a big fan of electronic options. I choose ATMs over tellers and vote by mail to avoid all that nasty community at the polls. But really irritating tech is out there, and one of the strongest bastions was also the first – telephones. Herewith, two tales that both happened yesterday, one to me, one to my mom.

Notification from my smartphone:

In order to enable WIFI calling, you must provide your address for 911 calls. Please visit my.tmobile.com.

So I went to the site, where it asked me to log in. The user ID was my phone number, so I knew I had that right, but after trying all my usual passwords (and Angel Joe’s), I hit the Forgot your password? option. Bing! A new, temporary password appeared in my phone messages, and I carefully typed it in: UU4ZJ4.

Website: Password must be at least eight characters long.

At possibly the same time, my mom was trying to cancel her paid subscription to a newsletter that automatically renewed. The website insisted that she get on the phone. The automated phone system was clearly designed to be obstructive. First it hung up on her when she paused too long to pick one of the options, then it had difficulty recognizing her subscriber number, no matter how slowly and clearly she read it.

Automated system: Are you Jose Martinez?

Mom: No. (reads number again)

Automated system: Are you Erin Whitehall?

Mom: No!

Finally it took the number, only to shunt her into a menu cul de sac where none of the numbered options were useful.

Mom, boiling over with frustration: Fuck you!

Automated system: That is not an option.

How about you? Any recent run-ins with terrible tech?

Grown Up Love Song

I wrote this song earlier this year. This is hosted on SoundClick.com.

Click here to listen. The lyrics are below.

Grown Up Love Song

He woke up at three o’clock from a dream about snakes and water,
Where ice had fallen out of the sky and covered the face of his daughter.

She woke up at one o’clock and poured another glass of wine.
Looked at her bills and her bank account, and told herself everything would be fine.

They meet in the usual way – photos and words on a glowing screen,
Secrets told to a stranger online, but after you tell them you want to be seen.

And they both had been alone.
Felt broken to the bone.
But they made a date by phone,
And they met.

Hope and need are powerful things, driving us to take chances.
They moved in together that spring, after months of questioning glances.

And they sold one of their beds,
Discovered they both liked red,
Put his weight bench in the shed,
Just for a while.

She wakes up at six o’clock, feeling his hand brush her hip.
He rolls onto his side in the dark and smiles as she smiles against his lips.