Thursday, December 24, 2020

Tech Support When You Are Old

            It started when Kim needed a new iPhone. Her old one had a small crack in the glass, an aging battery (we know what that feels like) and would occasionally act up and refuse to do things. She didn’t think she needed one, but I wanted to demonstrate my tech-mastery, so I insisted.

            We went to the Spectrum (our carrier) store, found the cheapest one they had for sale, and then asked the guy to transfer the data from her old phone to her new one. No problem, because I had thoughtfully brought in a list of all-important passwords, user id, passcodes, etc. Problem: Some of these were obviously wrong, so he said we would have to visit the local Mac store for the transfer.

            We drove home successfully because it did not require the use of any passwords.

            I phoned the store when we got home, and they told me I would have to call Apple Support. I did, and Samantha, a very patient lady walked me through the process – it took almost an hour because she had to tell me where to find stuff on my phone, and at one point she took over my screen to point stuff out. As I was doing this I had my phone on my knee (on Speaker), Kim’s old phone on the left on the table and her new one, which she had put in her old case to protect it, on the right. As we were finishing up, Samantha walked me through the process of erasing data from Kim’s old phone. I followed these simple instructions, not realizing that I had somehow switched phones, so I erased everything on the phone on which I had been talking, thereby ending the conversation. Also, my phone no longer worked.

            The next five minutes involved a lot of swearing and banging of furniture. To her credit, Kim did not do a video – which, of course, she couldn’t do because I had all the phones tied up and dysfunctional. To tell the truth, it felt pretty good to explode, for I don’t do it very often.

            So I called Apple again, this time on Kim’s new phone, and the patient lady there helped me complete the process of setting up Kim’s new phone and restoring the data on my phone, thanks to Cloud Backups that I didn’t know I was somehow making. Except for about a dozen settings.

            To celebrate the successful operation, I called to order a pizza for dinner. The call did not go through. Instead, I got a message about my Verizon account – a service I’d not had for about three years. I tried calling on Kim’s phone – same result. I called Kim on my phone, and somehow it went through!

            So, my next call was to Spectrum tech support. He walked me through a brief process involving resetting my network connections, with the result being that my call to tech support was dropped but I still could not order the pizza. I went through this process four times. Then I reached a very patient lady on Spectrum tech support, and after about 20 minutes of fiddling around, she tried calling the pizza place – no luck! We both looked up the pizza place on the internet and learned that we had been dialing the wrong number from my list of contacts. I thanked her, and she assured me she would be amusing her colleagues with the story of my stupidity. I said that was OK, as long as she did it behind my back.

            I told her this reminded me of another non-tech problem and solution, when my furnace would occasionally shut itself off. I thought the problem was with the thermostat, so I called Honeywell, and they walked me though a number of computerized buttons to test and reset things, to no avail. So, I called the guy who installed the furnace, and he did similar tests and then checked out some of the electronic devices on the panel next to the furnace. Nope. Then we opened up the doors (not the right term) on the furnace and saw that a mouse had built a nest in one of the vents, blocking the air flow. I cleaned it out, Kim put some netting where the vent exited our house, and it’s been working fine ever since.

            Meanwhile, Kim, who had given up on getting pizza, heated up some soup for our dinner.

            I decided to cap off my day by upgrading my cable account to include HBO Max so we could watch a new Meryl Streep movie. Kim begged me not to try anything having to do with phones or computers, but I was undeterred. An hour or so and three calls to tech support  later, I decided to try again tomorrow. It might be easier just to get Meryl Streep to come to our house.


  1. This is hysterical, David. And so sad. I would lend you my Apple Chief Engineer son, but I am saving him for me, entirely. And even he isn't enough sometimes.

  2. Honestly, I don't think age has a thing to do with it.

  3. Dave, Been there, done that. Those damn passwords drive me crazy. My older brother and my younger brother both went to Michigan Tech and know this tech stuff like you and I know a noun from a verb. At my final meal the
    night before I was born the math gene rolled off my plate and I was left with a propensity toward Northern Michigan University. And you know the rest.