Tag Archive for: technophobe

I keep getting notices in the mail from my insurance informing me that I can save time and energy by not bothering to go to a clinic when I am sick. I can just call up Teladoc. Right! If I want someone to just guess what may be wrong, I can call my sister. I hear there are also virtual clinics. I will want a virtual doctor when I have a virtual illness. If I am sick or hurting somewhere in this flesh-and-bone body, I want a flesh-and-bone doctor to see me, take my temperature, get a blood sample maybe, pat my arm, or say, “Does this hurt?” Or all of that.

I have not used the Teladoc service, so I can’t say it is good or bad; I just know I don’t want it. I know from experience that appendicitis can feel a lot like a stomach virus. How can a doctor on my phone or a website tell the difference without ever seeing me?

And think of this. What if it’s the first step to replacing real doctors with robots, and even then you don’t actually get to go into a clinic and see your primary robot. You can get a RoboMed app for your smart phone. I don’t want to pick up my phone and say, “Hey, Robodoc, I have a pain in my right leg. What’s up with that?” Robodoc may diagnose me with bone cancer when I actually have a torn meniscus. Or vice versa.

Now, I have admitted—right on this platform, in fact—that I have technophobic tendencies. I think my phone is eavesdropping and my computer is spying. Microwaves may be frying my brain and even electricity may be short circuiting my physiological wiring. I openly proclaim that I want to go back to a phone on the wall with an answering machine. A cell phone where you can be found anywhere is just an electronic cowbell. I don’t want to be called when I am in the produce aisle, or the toilet. At most, a cell phone should be an emergency device when you are on a trip. A pre-paid flip phone would work for that. I have a road atlas; I don’t need GPS on my phone. Besides, my car is already equipped with enough “helpful” devices to get me where I need to go, call emergency services, spy on me, and play my favorite music.

While I am on this soapbox, I will go further. We are a nation–maybe a world—of people who think everything should be instant and easy. I saw a sign proclaiming a drive-through window to pick up ashes for Ash Wednesday. Really? Maybe we should just do away with churches altogether and have a Salvation App for the fundamentalists, ConfessaPhone for the Catholics, and WatchtowerWeb for Jehovah’s Witnesses. We already have Amazon for shopping, and Waitr and GrubHub for meals. Folks who can telecommute for work need never leave home at all. Ever. If they miss their friends or family, they can just Skype or FaceTime. Is it just me, or is this an unhealthy path we are on?

I am protesting. I am going to unplug my microwave, go grocery shopping, pop in at a chapel, visit a friend face to face, eat at a restaurant, then stop and make an appointment with a doctor, any doctor. My cell phone is not going with me. And tonight I am reading a bona fide hard-cover book instead of streaming four episodes of Grace and Frankie.

Take that, technology.

Okay, the truth must come out. I am a bit of a technophobe. This is not new, just not something I freely divulge. In today’s digital, instant world, admitting to technophobia is akin to the Biblical leper running around yelling, “Unclean! Unclean!”

I remember when microwave ovens began to become common place–yes, that is an age giveaway. After turning one dinner roll into a landscape stone because I thought I had to heat it a mere 10 minutes, not 10 seconds, I began to wonder if such potent laser beams could escape the oven and microwave my brain. Turns out I wasn’t so far off the mark, but back then I was just viewed as an old fashioned, lily livered anti-progressive.

A couple of years after that, I bought a word processor. Now that one I was all for because it meant the end of carbon paper, correction tape and endless do-overs when editing my writing. I do love cut and paste. Now, however, I approach the latest generation of computer with fear and trembling because it auto-corrects, auto-updates and auto-improves itself to the point I can no longer even use it, much less understand it.

Case in point: I am charged with maintaining a website for an economic honor society. That may sound made-up since I just confessed my lack of computer saavy, but it is true. That has gone reasonably well until now. NOW is when the distant webhost said he had to move the server. I am advanced enough to know he didn’t meant it would look better on the wall by the window, but “moving the server” could have meant transferring the files to a flash drive or to an intergalactic orb far far away.

Whether new computer or new galaxy, I was notified that the move went well and I could update the site at my leisure. Ha! None of my log-on credentials worked, so I emailed the webmaster. I was told I just needed to set up a new website connection with FTP. He might as well have said I just needed to jot over next door and perform a frontal lobotomy. At least I know what a frontal lobotomy is.
This came at a time when I had just learned at a writing conference that successful book marketing is done primarily online these days. The website is the new business card and marketing tools are blogs, Instagram, Facebook posts and Twitter. Last I knew, twitter meant the sound birds make. Although you could be excitable and get “all a twitter” over something. Pretty sure neither of those are the Twitter I have to get to know.

The upshot is that I, who have been known to turn off the electricity and read by the light of an oil lamp to protest the screeching rate of “progress,” must now learn not only to navigate FTP, but to do Facebook posts, post boosts, FB ads, hashtag stuff and tweet somewhere to promote my books.

Maybe I will light the oil lamp and then jot over next door and talk about that lobotomy instead.