My telephone company told me I was entitled to a free phone upgrade. The phone I had been using looks as if it was made by C students in a high school shop class in 1974. I was looking at the free phones and was thrilled to see a silver BlackBerry. The thing has 14 icons on the front, each with an important purpose.
"Don't get it," my wife said. "You'll never figure it out."
This meant I had to get it.
I am technopeasant. A friend came up with the term a decade ago. It applied to her then and it applies to me always. I don't do well with machines. I'm not curious about how they function. I have no urge to take them apart to find out. I'll go to a NASCAR race or to one of the race teams, and somebody will patiently answer a technological question. And even when I ask the subject to talk more slowly and use smaller words I can't figure it out what he's saying. So I mainly nod my head. Cool.
yet, I love machines. I love my car. I need a car that handles well, has a good sound system and makes me feel good when I put the key in the ignition. My wife's teen-aged son, Cory, is a potential technological genius, and he asked me how many cylinders my engine has. Six, I said. Six or eight.
He checked. Four, he said.
But it's fast.
It's a turbo, he said.
A machine on which I've come to rely is the iPod. I do intervals on the ellipitical machines in our house and in the gym, and if I didn't have Robert Plant, U2, the White Stripes and several dead blues guys to get me through, I couldn't do it.
But when I tried running with an iPod I was a disaster. A slow song such as Led Zeppelin's "That's the Way" would slow me to a 12-minute mile trot. A fast song such as Spirit's "I Got a Line on You" would have me sprinting down the street, oblivious to the world and to traffic. I haven't run with an iPod since. Besides, I like running alone, not talking, just letting thoughts meander and shift, especially on Sunday morning. When I finish running, I'm always smarter than when I began.
The iPod was a gift, as was the GPS system. The GPS saved me on trips to specific destinations in Asheville and Wilmington, cities with which I'm not really familiar when time was especially tight. But when I don't turn where the woman's voice tells me to the Nagometer kicks in. And it's insistent.
I've had my BlackBerry 11 days now, and my wife was wrong because I've already mastered the thing. I can make calls, receive calls and tell time. And when a friend has a lesser phone, I'm really good at putting mine next to it.