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Technology Nervous Breakdown

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Normally, my husband and I are the go-tos in our family for most matters of great urgency. Crisis management is our thing: Travel plans, cancelled flights, rebookings -- we are on 24-hour call and usually able to meet all requests. Work issues, contracts, negotiations -- we've got big opinions and many years of experience -- and the phone lines are open and frequently tapped by our kids. Health issues and concerns -- insurance problems, car talk, and even relationship issues -- we are ready to counsel.

There is one category, however, that has us begging for help from our kids... technology. We can barely stand on our own two feet despite our investing heavily in our technology hardware: Apple TV, Macs, iPhones, Bluetooth, alarm systems, wireless connections not to mention password retrieval apps that never seem to help -- we've got questions about all of them and we are screwed when our equipment fails.

This past week my computer went on the blink. We had an onslaught of visitors and my Mac was out on the counter, accessible to all. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but the trackpad no longer works and it appears my computer is "possessed." The cursor is clicking on all kinds of applications -- leaving me in the midst of answering an email while automatically opening Excel and PowerPoint programs. Who asked it to do that? I have been unable to finish typing a sentence, and forget about sending a message. Perhaps one of our guests let a few drops of Chardonnay drip onto the trackpad?? (Not accusing, just guessing.) No matter, I'm screwed.

With a deadline at hand, articles to edit and write, I have been consciously practicing patience. Kapalabhati breathing techniques, and self-talk to help me off my personal ledge are my regular tools... while also trying to will the cursor back onto the page.

What do you do when your computer stops working? Perhaps you feel helpless, perhaps you call the tech-support number and try to work it through with a tech-exec. Perhaps you call your kids. Or, even better, perhaps your kids are visiting because it's their summer vacation and they're within "shouting" range.

This past week we had all four of our boys and friends at our home for five days. Lucky me to have my technology crash with the pros nearby. NOT! I couldn't believe it. Here's the kind of advice I got:

"Did you try turning it off and then turning it on?" NO, DUH! -- Got an original idea?

After getting that advice from each of the kids I begged them to have a go at the cursor. "Whoa -- that's so odd -- you're right, it looks possessed -- did anyone spill something?" Of course, I already considered the spillage issue and came up with a strategy... "What if there was some dampness inside the trackpad...  what the Hell am I supposed to do?" None of the kids had a solution.

One of my boys actually went online to order a wireless mouse which he believed would solve the problem. Really?? -- I needed them to tell me I needed a wireless mouse?!?

Basically, I got nowhere with my in-house "tech support."

So here's all I have to say after not having my computer for the past five days:
  1. I have more time to be present. Because I cannot use my computer -- there's no temptation, and that opens up hours in my day.
  2. I am feeling less dependent on my kids for technology support -- they couldn't help me -- I now have greater clarity about my support system.
  3. I am hatching plans B and C to deal with the issue should spraying Windex on the trackpad, blow drying the trackpad and turning on my AC to keep the house drier not result in any improvement with my Mac.
  4. I am feeling grateful that I have an iPad and iPhone as back-ups and no longer feel that my technology investments have been wasteful.
  5. I know that I love my children, and I do not judge them... even though they were completely USELESS in helping me with my tech problem!
  6. I love my work team who is busily helping finish this week's issue with barely any technology support from me. And they are for the most part -- over 50.
IRONY rules-- This week our theme is  "technology for mid-lifers," and speaking from personal experience, we could all use some real technology support!

Read more from Better After 50:
I Almost Poisoned My Kid
A Little Respect Please
Best Tech Gifts for Boomers
How Facebook Changed My Life

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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