Nightmare on Reading Street

“Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.”     Stephen Fry

It is easier to open a fridge than a book in this technology era.                                      Once upon a time, the library card gave access to a whole building of books. Now it opens a universe of libraries. A year ago I purchased an iPad, with hopes to download books, to avoid the extra weight caused by my book choice indecision while traveling. I often carry four books. I also like to underline favourite passages, I like to turn pages, and leave a dozen bookmarks, so I can go back to those pages. How was this digital book transition going to work for someone like me, with an ongoing love/hate relationship with technology.images

A friend helped me download Overdrive, a gateway to the public library. We downloaded the app, but were stumped with my out of date card. Next day, I renewed my physical card, and with bravado let the librarian know I planned to download books, and read them on my device. She handed me four instruction sheets to assist. I also booked an iPad session held at the Apple Cathedral, in Marketplace Mall.

At home, after ninety minutes of followed instructions, repeated log ins and passwords, two ebooks loaded. I was elated. With a sense of accomplishment I proceed to the next phase of my plan.

At the Apple Main station, Matt the minister announces that this is a Basic iPad workshop. (He was not interested in ebooks.) To cover all the bases, I book a genius bar appointment as well, to clarify issues sure to surface in the one hour service. All my technology products are the Apple denomination. Are androids the Baptists I wonder?

Matt explains, that with bluetooth, I could get a meat thermometer app, that will signal my phone when the steak on the BBQ is done. (Could I not look at the steak/cut it?)  I could also ask Siri to book an appointment, or cancel one. I want to ask if Syri will cook dinner for me, I’m hungry. My phone dings, and I hope Siri reads minds, and ordered pizza for me, but no, the genius bar tells me that they will be ready for me soon. Craig-Mod-quote-540x540I respond with a text message. While Matt is praising Siri, my phone dings again to say I should make my way to the front, the genius is ready for me. I respond again, that I am still in workshop. Shortly after they tell me, they are passing up on me and I will need to rebook. I excuse myself from the workshop, and walk ten paces to the young usher I first spoke with on arrival. “Something is wrong with the system,” I say, I had let him know that I was at this workshop, and had responded to the messages … “How can this communication be so one-way?” He apologized, put my name back on the list, but I don’t want to wait another hour … He inquires as to my issue. I want to know if I can move pictures from my iPhone to my iPad. He tells me it does not need a genius to figure that out … The answer is No, I cannot do it. Thank you.

I return to a frustrated Matt, his connection was severed. I suggest, that this is precisely what us mere mortals, of the greying crowd deal with regularly and rather than sell me a meat thermometer app, I want to know how to reconnect without messing my settings.

How did I ever grow up without computers? When I got home, with my iPad updated, I discovered that one of my books had disappeared. (It has since reappeared and I am happily reading.)

Technology, it’s everywhere … helpful and daunting at the same time, almost like God.

“If you drop a book into the toilet, you can fish it out, dry it off and read that book. But if you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re pretty well done.” ― Stephen King

Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head, Grief as an Out of Body Experience

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