All I wanted to do was take a picture of a sunset. I was at the beach with my family, watching the sun sink down into the ocean in a dazzling display of orange and yellow when I reached for my cell phone to snap a quick picture. I clicked on the camera icon, focused the shot and pressed the button to take the picture. But all I got was an obnoxious message saying that the phone couldn’t take the picture because I had used up all my storage available for photos. Which meant that instead of enjoying nature’s glorious display, I became focused on trying to figure out what the heck was going on with my cell phone.
Taking the message at face value (a rookie mistake, I admit), I spent the next half hour or so deleting photos from my phone in order to free up space. But when I was done and tried to take another photo, the same message came up. Frustrated, I did what I usually do when I can’t figure out what is wrong with my phone: I handed it to my son with the request that he identify, and fix, the problem immediately. It took him less than a minute to realize that the problem wasn’t that I was storing too many pictures on my phone, the problem was that I was storing tons of music on it. Which would have made so much more sense if I had actually ever downloaded music on my phone, but I haven’t. At least not intentionally.
It turns out that whenever I plug my phone into my computer in order to transfer the photos to the computer, the computer is reciprocating by generously transferring all of the music it has stored on the I-tunes app onto my phone. Who knew? My son deleted the music, and my phone decided that it would, once again, allow me to take pictures. And I was appropriately grateful until the next time I tried to load photos from my phone to my computer, and guess what? That sneaky little computer tried to load it right back up with music. I’m pretty sure I stopped it before too many songs crossed over, but I’m not certain. Nor have I found the “delete” button that my son used to rid my phone of unwanted songs.
I know that I am far from the brightest bulb on the string, but the fact remains that the more technology advances, the dumber I feel. It’s embarrassing to have to constantly ask my son what is wrong with my phone, or my computer, or my I-pad. Especially when he tells me that he usually finds the answer to my question simply by Googling it, which is his way of implying that I ought to be able to figure these things out by myself. And the sad truth is, I usually do try to figure things out by myself, and only turn to him when I find myself too frustrated and angry to think straight.
I know that technology has brought about wonderful advances in the fields of science, medicine and communication. But I still wish that the formerly simple process of taking and storing photos hadn’t become so incredibly complicated. Yes, it’s called a “smart phone.” But does that really mean it needs to be so intent on making me feel stupid?