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.

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