I don’t know what got into me. I’m usually great at ignoring automated update notices on every appliance I own. My view is, I have to be in the right mood to update — and believe me, I am almost never in the right mood.
But for some reason, I was in the right mood when I got an update notice on my iPhone. I think it was my son’s fault. He’d mentioned something about a big deal iPhone update and God knows, I’m susceptible to rumors. So, when I saw the notice, I didn’t grimace the way I usually do. I thought, well, why not? And worse, why not do it now?
So, I pressed the download button, and immediately my iPhone was taken over by the update apparatus. No big deal. I was going to yoga, anyway. So I sauntered off into the zen zone. When I came back, my phone was sending me all kinds of emergency bulletins, asking for passwords, threatening me, ordering me to do all kinds of irrelevant stuff. By then, I was no longer in the right mood.
“I just ruined my iPhone,” I told my friend Carol when she called. (A miracle: At least the call came through.) “I tried to update it.”
“I HATE UPDATES,” Carol screeched. “I HATE EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM — ”
“Everything was just fine,” I continued. “I didn’t have one single problem with my phone. And now I updated it and ruined it — ”
” — THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS AN UPDATE THAT IMPROVES ANYTHING. THEY RUIN EVERYTHING — ”
” — my laptop, my iPad, my cell phone! I am constantly bombarded by updates I don’t want. The only update I want is for my body, for God’s sake — ”
Finally, Carol and ended our conversation by slamming down our phones, content we were both 100 percent right. It would have been a completely satisfying conversation, in fact, except I realized I’d forgotten to mention my other, pressing high-tech nightmare.
Which was: Remember the sound system in our fancy, new car, with the gizmos my husband had assured me would change our lives? Well, it was stuck on Hank Williams. Or, more precisely, on Hank Williams’ rendition of “Jambalaya.” Even though I’d punched many buttons repeatedly and screamed a lot (often while driving), the system kept playing “Jambalaya.”
“It’s not even my favorite Hank Williams’ song,” I’d complained to my husband the day before. “If it has to be stuck on something, why not something I really like, like ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ or ‘Lovesick Blues’?”
As usual, my husband hadn’t looked terribly alarmed by the magnitude of my high-tech disasters. He didn’t seem to realize I would probably drive the car into a brick wall if I had to listen to “son of a gun/we’ll have some fun/on the bayou” one more goddamned time. (If I recall it correctly, Hank Williams himself died in a car at the age of 29, in a tragedy I am perfectly willing to bet may have involved punitive repetitions of “Jambalaya,” but that’s just my working theory.)
Update my right shoulder, my neck, or any other aging body part, if you want. Fine. Just leave my high-tech equipment in working order and I’ll be be content. Otherwise, good-bye Joe/me gotta go/me oh my oh.
(Copyright 2013 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Read about seeing ghosts