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2017-03-15 / Loose Ends

Need to Know

Life’s a mystery
Susan Nienow

The list of things I don’t know is long and pretty ordinary. It differs completely from my other half’s list. He “gets” things to do with physics and measurements and stuff. I don’t. The other evening my other half wasn’t around, and my computer announced it couldn’t find my keyboard. Well, I could. It was right in front of me and in front of the computer. So what was the problem?

I vaguely remembered something flashing on the screen about the keyboard batteries being low. How does the computer know that? Have you looked at AA batteries? They don’t have wires or a plug. I assume the batteries went dead because the computer kept looking for the keyboard, but …

So, being the intrepid sort, I went hunting for the stash of batteries and found the AAs. Once the keyboard had fresh juice, the computer was happy again.

But I don’t understand how they communicate. I have the same relationship with my cellphone – we don’t always communicate either. I would like to tell it to get rid of the weeds in my gardens, but even if it listened, I doubt my weeds would be in jeopardy. I’d settle for simple instructions on how to keep an address book, how to keep a calendar and how to make it remind me of everything I usually forget.

People – mostly my other half – tell me all that is easy. And it was, until I hit the wrong key and ended up in another app without trying. Then when I got back to what I was working on, I realized that the screen was frozen, so I turned it off and picked up the crossword puzzle from the paper.

I not only don’t get how the phone works regarding everything beyond making a call, I don’t get how the phone works. Where does the other person’s voice come from? A cell tower. Right. Take a close look at the next cell tower you see. Is there a voice hanging around? A picture? How about a video? My other half has tried to explain, but I go numb after the second or third sentence. So it’s still a mystery.

I understand cars – well, I feel as though I ought to. But the GPS is another story. When I put an address in, how does it find just the right place most of the time? Emphasis on “most.” When our neighbors have a party, we should just have one, too. At least one carload of people always winds up at our house when a GPS system gets confused. It would be helpful if they didn’t make any new friends.

There was a time when I couldn’t figure out how to program the VCR to do anything but record the program that was currently showing. They – whoever that is – have made it easier. I can now record anything at any time of day. I just don’t understand how I make it happen.

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