If you have read my musings over the years, you know that I have an ongoing battle with technology; one in which I often lose skirmishes. I frequently have to call our son for help with what appears to be very minor issues. As more times goes by, you’d think I’d get better at solving my own problems in this area, but sadly, I can’t keep up with the increasing amount of digitalization and machinery in my life.
This past week I had a scuffle with my car and though I prevailed, I did so only with the assistance of my husband. It all started when I wanted to go into town to put a teddy bear or two in the Hospice gift shop window. Not to worry — I was following all the social distancing guidelines! The store is not open, but is participating in the “go find a bear hunt” activity that is happening in some neighborhoods and downtowns. I went into the deserted town, wiped down the door handle, grabbed a few teddy bears from our storeroom, and placed them in the window. Then I locked up and posted a picture on Instragram, planning to go straight home. No contact with anyone or anything and not spreading anything! Excellent, right?
Except when I got in the car and pressed the keyless ignition button, the car did not start. I heard clicking noises and lights all over began to flash. Messages appeared on my dashboard saying things like “open and close passenger window” and “theft deterrent system error.” I got out of the car to look at the battery, which did not help explain if it was a digital or mechanical issue. I tried to get back in the car, but it had locked. My remote would not unlock it. It wouldn’t open the trunk. Pushing it repeatedly made the lights inside the car blink frenziedly, but the door wouldn’t open.
I popped the actual key out of the remote and opened the door, cautiously, fully expecting the alarm system to begin blaring. It did not; the door opened and I was able to sit inside, pushing the ignition button and hearing clicking.
I did the sensible thing. I called my husband who drove in to rescue me. I had time to ponder my predicament. Was God telling me to stay home? Was the battery dead? Was the digital system broken? I dreaded the idea that my husband would arrive and the car would start immediately because I was doing something wrong. I tried to read the owner’s manual, but discovered it was written by the same people who write instructions for assembling furniture, so it was incomprehensible.
Matt arrived, charged up the battery with this truck and got the car to start. He drove it to our favorite battery place, where a masked man inserted a new battery in minutes.
Our car is running just fine now, but I wonder what, and when, my next conflict with technology will be. What I don’t wonder is who will win.
Sue Curtis is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy. Email her at email@example.com.