Saturday, February 20, 2010

Until I'm Blue in the Face

(This photo left blurry for dramatic/metaphorical/symbolic/thematic purposes. Work with me on this, people.)

My new car came with Bluetooth Technology. Cool! I thought. Now I could stop trying to balance my cell-phone on my knee in an attempt to be "hands-free" as the law here requires.

When it was time to program my new handy little built-in device, I sat in my new car, my 180 page instruction manual on my lap, and proceeded to read the instructions. Oh, dear.

What I remembered most from the instructions was reading about the various things NOT to do while setting up the system:

Do not yell into the microphone located above the rear view mirror.
Do not give non-prescribed commands to the system.
Do not speak into the microphone until prompted by the system.
Do not try to override the system by pushing buttons at inappropriate times.

The manual listed the suggestion of not yelling or shouting into the microphone at least five times.

Well, I thought. Of course. What kind of idiot is going to make those kinds of mistakes?

In ten minutes, I was exactly that kind of idiot, yelling out commands (and NOT prescribed ones!), hoisted up in my seat, my hand gripping the steering wheel, my mouth one-half inch from the speaker as I repeatedly punched at the controls. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair was askew, my face coiled up and twitching in areas I never knew it could twitch in. I looked crazed because I was crazed and nowhere near recognizing the situation as out of control.

The woman on the Bluetooth remained cool. "Please enter the number you wish to call."

I said in my nearly hysterical voice, for the fifth time, "803..."

"Pound," she said. "Continue to enter numbers. "


"Pound," she said in her smooth voice.

"Oh, I'd like to pound you. I would!"

"I don't understand," she said.

"Yes, you do!" I yelled. "I know you do!"

It was Sonny Boy who found me there, drenched with sweat and searching in the glove box for a weapon with which to disembowel the system. Mama was gonna pull the obviously rotten tooth right out.

"Calm down, Mom," he said in that even, flat tone that denotes, not concern for the frenzied but a eye-rolling disbelief at idiocy. Ever my techno therapist, he suggested I take a break and then we'd take a "nice ride" to the park and do the programming there.

We did and it was somewhat successful, meaning I only have the numbers that Sonny Boy programmed in there.

Now, the Bluetooth woman and I have become mildly friendly with one another. (Don't tell her, but I really like my GPS woman a lot better.) I have been the flexible one though, not her. She's rather rigid, if you ask me, but I'm a wily one. After fighting with her for weeks, I figured out that to call my friend's cell phone I have to say "Home" and then Bluetooth Lady says, "Do you want to call L's cell phone?" "Yes," I say, a little proud that I have tricked her into doing what I wanted her to do in the first place.

Oh yeah. Who's the smart one now?

Being the good daughter I am, I try and call my 87 year-old mom every Tuesday and Thursday morning while I am on my way to work. For a number of reasons, these calls are sometimes hard to make. The guilt button at being 2000 miles away and unable to help her out is not just pushed--it's taped down. Let's just say that most of the time these calls take a lot of energy and also force me to face realities that I really, really don't want to face. It would be much easier not to make the calls, but I do.

I get into my car, start to drive, push the button and say, "Call Mom."

Each and every time Bluetooth Lady asks, "Do you want to call Mom?"

It's like she's really asking me, like she wants me to think about this and how these calls affect me. I hesitate. What I want to say is, "Well, it's really complicated. I do want to call. It's just that sometimes...."

"Do you want to call Mom?" repeats the Bluetooth Lady, now turned therapist. She knows exactly what I am going to say. She just wants me to be the one to say it.

I push the correct button at the correct time, take a deep breath and say "Yes."

The phone rings, and my mom picks up and starts to talk.

And during the conversation, I remain seated and calm.
I use a normal, tranquil, even tone of voice.
I never yell or scream.
I say only silently agreed upon, prescribed responses at the correct time and only when prompted to do so.
I do not push buttons that should not be pushed.

I guess you could say I've learned a lot about talking to my mom from the Bluetooth Lady.


Michelle @ Delicate Construction said...

You lasted longer than I would! Technology drives me crazy sometimes!

LittleSilkDress said...

Bluetooth Lady's calm voice and repetitive nature must have been maddening!

crunchyveganwifelife said...

After that fiasco, I would have gotten a shotgun and hunted down miss blue

Wisconsin Parent said...

oh. my. god. i just read this out loud to my husband. we are rolling in laughter. our GPS lady is a bitch. she is always saying "when possible...make a u turn." no shit lady. how about you take me to the doctor and not the mall (you're not fooling anyone). :-) Funny funny Betty!

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

So glad you and Bluetooth Lady have become friends! I'm still not feeling GPS lady. I don't trust that bitch...

LoisW said...

I don't even have GPS yet. Oh, it must be hard to be 2000 miles away from your aging mother. Hopefully, she has other family to help out. My father is 87... I was thinking of moving away and leaving my other two sisters to have at it. (but I don't trust them to do things perfectly, like me!) LOL

Lois <~~~ control freak

Trevor said...

Just wait until these bluetooth systems get A.I.! Then they will be yelling at you. "I can't let you do that Bossy"

Shan said...

I'm pretty sure I read this when you originally posted it, and I'm wondering why I didn't comment. Perhaps I was not commenting on "today's" post just like I didn't post on *today's* post because I got wrapped up in checking out other things you've written. In any case, I like this just as much as I remember liking it back then. And that was gorgeous scenery from the botanic garden.