In search of story

December 8.20: Coping


Yesterday my phone quit. Disheveled, wild-eyed, I scrapped my to-do list and headed for the phone store, where I took my place on the proper social-distance marker. It appeared a long wait was ahead; I was right. A cool-headed young man, the lone employee, was trying valiantly to take care of two accounts with a small masked throng gathering.

In all, I stood for about an hour, enjoying my steady intake of carbon dioxide.  At one point, the cool-headed employee offered snacks; this was not encouraging: do people wait so long there that they have to be fed?

My hips aching, my face steamed, my spirit sagging from the pure misery of being stuck in a world of gizmos, I was dimly aware that more customers had come in behind me. And suddenly everything changed. “Put your mask on!” “Shut up!” This began a shouted rage among three customers.

The anger was intense on both sides. It was impossible not to notice how close to the surface this anger was. The flare-up was too loud, too quick, too easy. The furious unmasked stormed out.

Finally someone looked at my poor phone and said I needed a new one. I drove across the street to Target and bought some Christmas M&Ms instead. Mint M&Ms.

The vicious rumor that my phone dates from the rule of Charlemagne notwithstanding, I am not adjusting well to this. I don’t want a phone. I want some peace. And reason. While my hat’s off to the cool employee who responded so professionally to the outburst, even the powers of Christmas M&Ms couldn’t undo its effects.

In this past year, I have seen much kindness and patience among strangers. It is, I fear, wearing thin.

13 thoughts on “December 8.20: Coping

  1. Your post brought up so many issues. Let’s address the good idea of buying M&Ms first because they always soothe the soul. 🙂 There is such a divide based upon (insert your word(s) of choice here) regarding mask wearing during this pandemic that it literally boggles my mind. I read a very innocent post about the weather and mask wearing by our local well-known hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock, the other day, and then I made the mistake of reading the comments. They made me wonder what planet I had been transported to and how can I go back to the one I know. I think as a nation/society we are broken, and I don’t see how any person or persons can fix it, and that makes me terribly sad. Moving on to your phone and something easier to work on, if you’re looking for a flip phone have you tried ordering one and picking up curbside and then activating it at home. If that’s just a photo, and you’re talking smart phone, try calling and seeing if they’ll order one fro you online, ship to home, and maybe a wonderful, younger member of your family will help transfer apps and such. I ‘know’ that it can all be done over the phone by talking with customer service because my younger family member did it that way. I, however, will probably do the ordering on line and then wind up going into the store too. 🙂 Hope you bought extra M&Ms because it seems like each day brings a little drama to our lives.

    • Despite the weariness and the frustration, I couldn’t help laughing at your comment about wondering what planet you’ve been transported to. No kidding! So thanks for the much-needed laugh and thanks also for the benefit of your experience and know-how. It looks as though I’m going to get my grandson’s old iphone, so be prepared for a post or two about The Old Lady and The New Phone. You are so right about relying on young people! To an extent, that’s the way things should be; however, all this technological mumbo-jumbo has made us more reliant on them than we want to be. Thank goodness for M&Ms! And, definitely, I bought extra!

  2. My husband’s flip-phone was so old, they no longer make the battery for it, so he ended up with an iPhone. Hates it! He can turn it on, off, photograph, text and Facetime with it. Volume adjusts itself in his pocket — he misses calls, texts.. If he didn’t have a plan on which our daughter has a smart phone, I’d go get him something more suited to him.

    As for the masklessness / anger, I think it’s nearly all Trump-related. The sooner that waste of ballot space is gone from us, the better life will get, but there has been some real damage and it will take us time to heal.

    Gosh, those M&Ms look so good… Hang in there!

    • Thank you for yet another needed laugh! Rueful though it may have been. Real damage indeed. I’ve come to the conclusion that anger and fear are marketable commodities and bring much money. Perhaps it has always been like this but is just more painfully obvious now.

      My sympathies to your husband! I may be joining in his frustrations soon!

  3. Well, I can only say I recently traded in my old iPhone 6 for a new iPhone 12 Mini. I dreaded the change and having to learn new things, but I must say I couldn’t be happier – much better camera, sharper screen image, facial recognition to unlock, battery longevity, 5G service – and it’s the same size as my old phone, even though the screen is slightly bigger. I was terrified about losing data in the transfer, but Apple Care patiently guided me through it via phone. I also downloaded the manual onto my iPad and have read through much of it. There are numerous features I don’t use and probably won’t, but the camera and sharper screen image alone were worth the upgrade. Bon courage!

    • Merci! I need it! There is nothing in your email that didn’t pop more grey hair on me — goodness! it sounds overwhelming, and probably is. I congratulate you on understanding!

  4. Gary and I went through a rather painful episode last November with a rather smarmy salesman who came to our house during internet installation on the pretense of “checking” on our service. We ended up with new iPhones that we were misled into thinking were free. When we tried to get in touch, he had left the company! Long story short, the company eventually fixed the problem and gave us gift cards. We’re glad we switched when we did because our old phones were becoming obsolete and would dread going to the store now for the reasons you describe. So it wound up being a good (but painful) learning experience. I bet you will like the iPhone for photography, at least.

    • First I must say I love the word “smarmy.” Thank you for reminding me of it. I would say, yes, that was a painful learning experience but I’m glad you eventually felt OK about it. You are so very right about the necessity for these phones, and I’m hoping hard I can learn how to live with one. I’m a little nervous living without a phone so I have some incentive to educate myself. I’ve heard good things about the camera in the iPhone, and that does indeed make me eager to try it. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. At least we can salute you for getting full use out of your phone. I’m in favour of keeping them as long as we can, but my hat’s off to you (as so often). And did I see a hint in the intro to your more recent post that a resurrection occurred? I am off to find out.

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