Wednesday, January 28, 2015

No Longer a Nerd

Years ago, my female co-workers and I joked about being nerds without looking nerdy. We were attractive, well-dressed women, confident and competent in our profession: computer programming.

But those were the dinosaur days of Big Blue, days of Fortran, Cobol, Assembler, and PL/1.

And until recently, I’ve felt only a bit less confident with new technology.

Last week that changed. I am no longer a nerd.

Here’s what happened. I decided to trade my iPhone in for a new model. I’d been told that Best Buy was the place to go.

When asked what phone I wanted, I showed the salesman my old one.

“I need a new one,” I told him, failing to add, “of these.”

I happened to be standing in front of the Samsung display. He guided me to a desk.

The clerk there did a great job, changing my plan to one that costs less. As an ex-nerd, I should have asked more questions before accepting the new Galaxy 5S. I didn’t realize I was moving to a new platform, a totally different system.

That was a Tuesday. I called my sister that day, told her I had bought a new phone; I texted a friend the same information.

My phone was silent for the next two days. When my sister called on Thursday, I learned that my voice mailbox had not been set up. With some effort, I thought I had accomplished that task.

By Friday, I was beginning to wonder. My friend usually texted back quickly. I called her. She had sent a text and wondered at my lack of response.

I began to doubt my decision. I struggled finding my way around the mass of symbols, searching for clues to set up the missing pieces. And I signed up for a class, to be held on Monday.

Finally, Sunday morning, I surrendered. At my age, I’m not willing to spend hours fiddling with something – phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – just to make sense of it.

I use my phone as a communication device. I have no land line and the Galaxy had cut off my only source of connection with anyone not in the room with me. Yeah, I could have learned how. But why?

I returned to Best Buy and traded for a new iPhone. Before leaving the store, I verified that contacts, voice mail and text were functioning.

Whew! No longer a nerd - and I’m good with that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I couldn’t miss the small flat envelope, my only mail on Saturday.

I had just come from a writing critique group where one of my poems had received much praise. A member there had invited me to join a new group, just forming. I left feeling validated as a writer.

But there it was, self-addressed and stamped, a tiny envelope that could have been lost had it arrived on junk mail day. Poor little thing!

I knew before I opened it.

“Where is this from?” I muttered, not thinking to look at the postmark for clues. Instead,I marveled at how neatly I had printed my name and address in both to and from spaces.

Slicing it open, I found a half-sheet rejection letter tucked inside, one more to add to my collection.

Disappointing, especially this one, from a journal produced in Corvallis, Oregon. I had been sure they would like at least one of my poems, carefully selected to reflect my years in the Northwest.

But no, my submission “does not meet the editorial needs of the journal at this time.” I wonder to myself how one can divine those needs in order to meet them. I’ve read the journal and checked online for direction.

I sigh, and slide it into my expanding rejection folder. Maybe next time.