Some technology is OK, like remote controls and Google maps, but for the most part, I think life was a lot easier and far less stressful when the world wasn’t wireless and the only people who understood computers were the geeky guys in high school who all became bazillionaires.
An example of how frustrating technology can be has been all the electronic hoops Mark and I have had to jump through while trying to refinance our mortgage, a process that has dragged on far too long due to our loan officer (who is in another state) suddenly going AWOL in the middle of the process and apparently taking all our paperwork with him.
We’re trying again with a different loan officer and new paperwork. Of course, everything’s online, which seems like it should be a lot more efficient than having actual paper copies.
The original loan officer, aka Mr. Vanishing Act, swore the e-signing was “a breeze,” and it certainly isn’t hard, but for some reason the software has repeatedly put my name where Mark’s should go and his where mine belongs. Those problems only come to light when an actual human being looks at them and emails us to try again.
Then there’s the thrill of finally e-signing one batch of documents correctly only to learn we have to “wet” sign them, which would be all right, except then we have to upload them into the correct portal. For someone like me, who isn’t quite sure what a portal is, and for someone like Mark, who still has a flip phone, the result has been we’re both cranky much of the time and have at least one conversation a day asking each other why we can’t just win the lottery and forget refinancing anything for the rest of our lives.
Then again, technology gaffes can sometimes be fun.
Every so often, I get together with some friends for lunch and to catch up on what we’ve all been up to. Let’s call them Friend One, Friend Two, and Friend Three. A few weeks ago, I received a group text from Friend One suggesting we set up a lunch date and Friend Two and I both responded, “Sure. Where do you want to go?”
That’s when Friend Three chimed in. “Mettler’s?”
Now, for the record, Friend Three is a retired teacher and the kind of person who hangs out on golf courses, not in bars, so the rest of us haha’d before making more suitable suggestions. My only request was that we didn’t meet somewhere that required driving on a roundabout to get there. (Yes, I know I’m a chicken and I realize my world is going to continue to shrink as Mankato keeps on building more and more roundabouts, but that’s another story.)
We batted around a few restaurants without roundabouts nearby when Friend Three piped up again. “You don’t drive in roundabouts? They’re easy AF.”
Now we knew something was wrong. Either Friend Three had started happy hour at 9 in the morning, or there was a stranger in our cellphone midst.
Friend Two wrote to Friend One and me. “I don’t think that’s the same phone number I have for Friend Three” at the exact same moment Friend One and I were both texting: “Has she been drinking?”
Friend Two was right; it wasn’t the right phone number. A random person got Friend One’s text and decided to have some fun. I’m guessing, from the speed of his or her responses, that it was a young person with lightning-fast fingers. I’m also guessing it was a young person of the male persuasion because most females would either tell us we’d texted the wrong number or wouldn’t bother to join our group conversation.
Friends One and Two and I deleted the conversation and got in touch with Friend Three who was blissfully unaware of what we’d been thinking about her drinking habits. Thankfully, we figured out what was going on before inviting Faux Friend Three to join us, although that might have been entertaining.
I’m sure technology is only going to get faster and more confusing, so I guess the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy it whenever a random stranger joins a group conversation and to use Google maps to find out which restaurants aren’t surrounded by roundabouts. Oh, and once we finally get our house refinanced, try to avoid ever signing into any kind of portal ever again.
Nell Musolf is a freelance writer living in Mankato with her husband and two dogs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.