Are you smarter than a smartphone?

Gloria Hannigan is a great-grandmother who embraces the present and sees the humor in everyday life. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the past two months. My daughter Cindy called one day and told me that it was time to upgrade my cell phone. We made a date for the following afternoon to visit the Verizon store. I then paid $79.00 for a “free” smart phone.

We went back to my apartment where Cindy set up the phone for me to access my email and Facebook accounts. Cindy also downloaded the tutorial on usage of the phone to my computer. What could be easier, I thought.

The next day the phone rang, and no matter how I pressed on the picture of the phone, it wouldn’t connect. I went to get my nails done and the phone rang again. The manicurist said, “Go ahead and answer your phone.”

I replied, “That’s alright. Whoever it is will call back.” I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t know how to answer my own phone.

That afternoon I went to the Memoirs class and the stupid smart phone rang again. I tried to ignore it or blame it on Kacie; but this class is too smart. All I could do was sit there and wait for it to stop ringing so I wouldn’t have to admit that not only did I not know how to turn the ringtone off, I still didn’t know how to answer the phone.

When I returned home, I remembered a leaflet that was in the box with the phone. I found it in my end table drawer, and there, right on the first page, were instructions for answering the phone! I was to “tap and flick.”  Soon my phone rang again I did the “tap and flick” and was connected to my granddaughter. She had been calling me all day to tell me that she was expecting my next great grandbaby!

My technical abilities were challenged again the next day when I went to have lab work done. I noticed an ATM machine and decided to get some cash then and save myself a trip to the bank. I inserted my card, and the readout said, “Dip and remove card.”

“DIP?” What are they talking about? Am I supposed to dip my knees in some kind of a curtsey? That didn’t make sense. I removed the card and tried again. The machine repeated, “Dip and remove card.”

I started looking for more instructions, or something to dip the card in – no salsa, no sour cream. I removed my card and strolled out of there trying to look like I wasn’t a complete idiot.

When I got home, I called my own private tech guru, my daughter Cindy, and asked her what “dip” on the ATM meant. She had never seen it but thought it meant to insert your card and remove it quickly. That would be considered a “dip.”

I also told her of my smart phone problems and she said she would come the next day and help me. When she came, we went through an hour of hands-on training. Then she called me to test what I had learned.

She dialed my number and the doorbell rang! I asked, “How did you do that?” We were both laughing when I answered the door. I tried to explain to my neighbor why we thought the ringing doorbell was so hilarious, but it didn’t sound so funny when I tried to explain the humor.

No, I am not smarter than a smart phone, but neither am I dead as a doornail. Maybe my smart phone knows what a doornail is.



Published: July 17, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 14