I firmly believe in the old adage “Just because you’re not schizophrenic doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you.” I don’t think this is true, for me, with people. But it definitely is true of inanimate objects, especially any that require any sort of interaction with me. I am sincerely, truly, deeply convinced that there is an inanimate object conspiracy to drive me to apoplexy, and I can see the parking lot from here.
I am a simple man. I have a simple cell phone. It does not text, or tweet, or tell me to turn left in 500 feet, or do complex algorithms. It allows me to accept and make phone calls. Period. I use it so seldom that I avoid monthly phone fees by buying my minutes in blocks (500 minutes for $50), and it takes me from three to five months to go through them. But eight times out of ten, when my phone does ring, I am unable to answer it. I fish it out of my pocket, open it up, say “Hello?” and instantly cut the caller off. Some sort of message flashes on my screen which, in my fury, I cannot remember from one incident to the next. Usually, the caller is foolish enough to try again at once, figuring something may have happened to cause them to be cut off. It did. I had tried to answer the call. By the time I finish madly pushing buttons trying with increasing frustration and fury to actually talk to whomever it was who called, it is far too late. And to add insult to injury, a message will then appear on the screen saying smugly “You have 2”—or more— “missed calls.” I know I missed them, you stupid twit! I missed them trying to answer them!
In an effort to keep my computer files safe, I found a site called MediaMax which offers to store files free. I transferred all my manuscripts and writings to it. Found another free storage site the other day called Mozy and figured better safe than sorry, also backed up my files to it. All well and good. All safe and secure. Right? Wrong. Today I wanted to add a few more files. Went to Mozy, reached their page with no problem. It informed me of how much space I have used, which was very thoughtful of it. However, there was absolutely no information on how I could add new files, add material to files already there, or even check to see which files were there. I went to MediaMax and was told there was no such site. Went to Google, which had a bunch of references to MediaMax, not one of which worked.
It seems that if there is one thing internet sites do NOT want you to do, it is to try to contact them directly. Finding a way to actually get in touch with them is a Herculean endeavor. They are fond, in their sincere effort to be of service to you, of offering a FAQ option (it took me months to find out that FAQ stood for “Frequently Asked Questions”), which offers detailed information on everything except what you want to know. I guess they think if it isn’t on the FAQ sheet, it isn’t worth asking. Some sites, after I have spent hours looking for a way to reach them, will actually give me a place to send my inquiry. Shortly after sending it, I invariably get a form message from them thanking me profusely for submitting my question and assuring me they will respond within a very short time. Of the 50 or so messages I have sent over the past three years, I am still waiting for a response from 48 of them. But most infuriating of all is to receive a reply saying: “Thank you for your inquiry. Please check our FAQ sheet.”
I belonged, briefly, to an on-line site which encourages member participation by posting new topics or messages. Yet they do not bother to tell me how to go about posting something new. I can reply to someone else’s post easily enough, but to put up a new one? Forget it. And so, after innumerable attempts and failures, I decided just to unsubscribe from the group, and (you see where I’m going here?)…
It is to weep.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).