THE 5 STAGES OF EXPERIENCING BROKEN TECHNOLOGY

Nobody likes broken technology. I mean, I guess there are some people out there who get a weird sense of satisfaction from fixing broken technology, but are they really excited that it’s broken or that they were able to fix a problem? Are there actual human beings living in 2021 that pick up their phone and hope it doesn’t work? I have to believe the answer is no. Unless you were trying to get off the grid for a while. Broken broken feels like a strong wish, though, when you could just turn it off or leave it at home.

For the more sane among us, broken technology is never a fun time. Technology, for starters, is expensive. Like sell your first child expensive and every year those prices climb a little more. It’s the most exhausting hill climb I’ve ever done. Remember when you could get a phone for like, well I don’t actually remember anything pre several hundred dollars, but at some point it was affordable. Same with gas, and clothes, and houses, and cars, and toothbrushes, and watches, and all of the things. 

So you’ve spent your entire paycheck on something the size of your palm. It’s fun! It’s new! It’s the envy of your friends, co-workers, sidewalk strangers – everyone! Until it’s not. There’s always the one day where you go to power on a device and get the infinite loading screen of death. A stalled progress bar. A spinner stuck in time. A loading bar that never starts loading. A percentage that would fail every test, regardless of the curve. You know what I’m talking about.

Few things bring greater frustration than broken technology. Why is that? My guess: we need working technology to find a solution for our current problem. But if the solution magician is also asleep at the wheel, how are we ever supposed to move forward? Stuck in a black hole of questions and no answers. A lot like English exams. What answer are you looking for?! An opinion is not an accurate way to assess my knowledge of a book! Everyone is different and my current opinion is best left in my head.

Anyways … despite my raging passion against standardized English testing, technology is the same puzzle. And so we travel down the path and start walking through the 5 stages of grief with our currently most hated possession. Starting, of course, with grief. Grief for not being able to get it working. For never knowing if you’ll see the login screen ever again. A genuine sadness that it doesn’t work all the time. Like the price tag indicated.

We quickly move on into the angst portion of our journey thinking about all the potentially lost data if our technology does not magically come back online. When was the last time you ran a backup? Do you even know people’s phone numbers? How are you supposed to contact someone to send help? Will we ever see those unopened messages again? Once we’ve accepted our sadness, fears, and anxieties around our current situation we move to confusion.

Confusion around how to even begin fixing this. Who knows how to fix these things? Do you have to physically go to a store? Wait in line and hope you can explain the problem enough for someone to fix it. General confusion on how it works to begin with. Literally think about that for just a second. How do these things do all of the things they do? I have no idea. But that is a short rest area on our way to anger. Why? Simply why must things be like this?

You want answers. I want answers. Everybody wants answers, but the place with the answers is currently closed. So where does that leave us? About to throw something at a wall probably. And you can see how we easily get to tears. Throwing is never the ideal solution. Brute force, after all, usually makes it much worse. But at the end of the day, hole in the wall or not, we are frustrated to the point of literal, or metaphorical, tears. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN

We have all had an unpleasant encounter with someone who is just irrationally angry, at some point. You know, the people who call you up, or (even worse) are face-to-face with you, and have this need to tell you exactly how they feel in the most offensive and hurtful way possible? These people make me sad. For one, I had no part in whatever it is you’re upset about – I don’t even work here. But mainly, how unhappy are you in life that you feel a need to blow something trivial way out of proportion? Are you trying to ruin someone else’s day?

Want to know a fun fact? You aren’t ruining my day. No, to be honest, I’m not even really listening because you’re talking yourself in circles and not making sense. Plus, you’re just being loud, so I’m going to let you wear yourself out first. My favorite part about these people, is most of the time it’s user error. Oh, so your upcoming flight isn’t showing up on your calendar? Did you add it to the calendar? No? Hmmm, well that’s interesting – it’s hard to see something that you never created! Oh, so your burrito costs more because it has guacamole on it? Did you not listen when the Chipotle employee told you it would cost extra? Or did you not read the board with that same information very clearly printed on it? No? Hmmm, well that’s interesting – seems like a very personal problem.

Personally, I choose to live my life by this amazing quote: ‘Don’t let idiots ruin your day’. Check. Don’t worry, I’m still going to have an amazing day because happiness is a choice. My favorite part about these interactions is when our irrational friend realizes they screwed up. The face stays red, but subtly moves from the angry lobster red to embarrassment blush red. Now, I’m not a vengeful person, but can we all agree that feeling is satisfying? Granted, in a slightly evil way, but we aren’t the ones trying to make the girl behind the register cry so we can get out of paying, now are we?

Maybe I’m not a very angry person either, but how does one get to that stage? Is this impacting your ability to act like an adult? You know that you can still voice frustration in a reasonable way, right? Is this really the example you want to set for the people around you? There are children EVERYWHERE, you know (it’s slightly creepy).

What’s that? You haven’t ever dealt with someone like that? Your life is all glitter, and rainbows, and CHEWY CHIPS AHOY cookies? Well, this is awkward, but you are that irrationally angry person. Yes, I know you think you’re reasonable, and fun, and easy-going, but no. You would be incorrect. You are an overreacter and tend to blame things on others to get your way. Wow, that’s a tough pill to swallow, isn’t it. You’re probably starting to get a little red right now. Thinking about composing a very friendly email for me. Totally great – bring it on! As Germany Kent said, ‘Stop giving people the power to control your smile, your worth, your attitude, and your day. Don’t give anyone that much power over your life’. BOOM! You have no power over my life! So all of your anger will do, well, nothing to me. I’ll read your lovely email, take it, feel a little sad for your unhappiness, then smile and move on.

But I get it – it’s not as easy as that for everyone. Getting screamed at isn’t exactly something you wake up in the morning hoping for. That’s ok. New savage queen, Taylor Swift, wrote a song for times like these. It’s pretty much the perfect response template for dealing with one of the hotheads. A whole song can be hard to remember so I’ll just give you the highlights:

  • You are somebody that I don’t know, but you’re taking shots at me like it’s Patron. And I’m just like d*mn. It’s (INSERT TIME HERE)
  • You need to calm down. You’re being too loud
  • You need to just stop. Like, can you just not?
  • Why are you mad? When you could be glad?
  • Control your urges to scream about all the people you hate

How easy is that? You need to calm down. Why? Oh, because you’re being too loud and I don’t know you. Moral of this rant: there’s no need to be so angry – choose happiness.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who tends to overreact to everything, pass this along so they can scream at me not you. Maybe one day they’ll understand that life is short enough without tempting fate with frequent spikes to their blood pressure. Thanks for reading!


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