Ugh, you guys.
Here’s the thing: I’m not an idiot, I swear. I know a little bit about politics, a few things about the economy, a lot about communication and a fair amount about cooking. I’m no genius, but I can hold my own.
I’m also not old. I’m 30, for crying out loud, and despite what any teenager will tell you, 30 is not old.
Why, then, am I functionally retarded when it comes to my new iPod? Why does a fairly straightforward product made by the “most intuitive gadget company ever” completely befuddle me?
A few weeks ago, I won an iPod Touch in a raffle at work. I was pretty excited; my current mp3 defines the word “basic” and my phone is only slightly more advanced than a Jitterbug, so having a gadget that can fill in the gaps is a thrilling prospect. Decent photos, video and web access in the palm of my hand?! Welcome to 2005, Heather!
Alas, when I sat down to get the thing going, I ended up near tears after only 15 minutes. I just couldn’t figure out how to work it, where to find things, how to get my music into it. I tried visiting apple.com for tutorial videos, but installing the program to play the videos froze my laptop. Once I finally wised up and went to YouTube for instructional videos, they were meaningless because the home screen on my iPod looked much different than the one in the video. I couldn’t find “Contacts” to save my life, nor could I even figure out how to play the damn music. I attempted to install iTunes onto my computer (which is necessary if you want to synch your iPod with it), but again, my computer kept freezing. Finally, defeated and annoyed, I gave up.
At which point Adam wandered over and said, softly and earnestly, “Honey, you’re just not good at technology.”
Which was probably the right thing to say, because the immediate swell of rage completely distracted me from feeling bad about the iPod.
After our 20-minute fight, I was tempted to return to the iPod and keep fiddling with it — I was confident that with enough persistence, I would figure it out — but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it. Just looking at it made me feel old and stupid and useless. When did I get so bad at this? Doesn’t Apple tout the fact their products are simple enough for children to use? Why can’t I use it? Have I turned into an incompetent Old who can’t understand basic machines and constantly laments about, “Kids these days, born with gadgets in their hands”? Am I now legally required to apply for AARP membership and vote Republican?
I have walked the halls of bustling high schools. I have had teenage waiters unapologetically call me “ma’am” and completely ignore my obvious cleavage. I have emailed my best friend to ask, in all seriousness, how attachments work in Gmail. I don’t use Facebook. I do not get carded at R-rated movies anymore and I have outgrown the Juniors section of every clothing store I like. But none of this has made me feel as old, stupid and worn-out than that goddamn iPod. And in my own home, even!