Michaela Merz

I am stupid


My world was alright. My mobile had grown together with me and we were inseparable. I virtuosic played on its keys and it was a great help to me. My life was saved on this little tool. Dates, names, birthdays, passwords, photos, audit recordings; in short, the entire life.

On day waves appeared on the screen, faces turned green and then again purple without any warning and suddenly it was quiet as a mouse and the tool was dead and was not to be revived by any means. I tried everything in order to bring it back to life. Without avail. I had to buy a new gadget. For me that does not provoke any joy and jubilation but only loss of appetite and antipathy. First I had to digest that parts of my saved memories are irrevocably lost. Then I had to digest that I have to obtain about 50 passwords anew. The first day I could hardly do anything because I was nowhere admitted – banking, shopping, my website, I could not access anything. Please don’t tell me that one needs to do back-ups and synchronise, synchronise, synchronise! I know. But that’s no help afterwards.

I had to buy a new mobile. Also not funny. It might be a great activity for someone who has all time in the world to deal with the countless questions. With nostalgia I remembered my childhood where the choice was very limited. For example for dresses there were two types in my size and I did not like either of them, but I needed one. Then such a decision is not very difficult. But when one is confronted with a huge selection and does not know at all what one wants, then it is DIFFICULT, very difficult to select. I helped myself like so many help themselves. I asked several colleagues and friends what mobiles they use and how satisfied they are. The technically versed colleagues I did not even ask because I know that they deal with technology differently than I do. That way I found my model.

Then I purchased my new gadget and was paralysed. I could not do anything. No even take an incoming call. The handling and functionality are completely different than with my old mobile. I felt reminded of my first tries in the computer room at Zurich university. Back then computers were terribly expensive. Thus there was a room, where the students could do their homework. No one in my class had an own computer. I entered the computer room and it was deserted. Only the computers greeted me friendly. I selected a nice looking one and wanted to start working. But it was turned off. For 20 minutes I desperately tried to turn the thing on. Without any success. I was close to tears but did not consider giving up. And then a student entered, saw my despair, came to my machine and did something at the back of the machine and immediately the screen went bright. I was so angry with myself and at the same time I was ashamed for my inability.

With my new mobile it is more or less the same. I am angry. I know that I can find out everything myself but it takes TIME and I don’t have time. Not at all. Before me is a prearranged programme in half hour slots until Christmas. There is just no time to try things. I have someone show me the three essential functions, such as taking incoming calls, search for phone numbers from the phone book and make calls; the rest just has to wait.

A few days later I see how a client struggles with his mobile. It seems familiar and look there, I can even help him. In a large round we start to discuss and it turns out that many people feel like me. The technical gadgets drive the users to despair, anger (there was talk about mobiles being thrown), frustration and resignation. I realised that with my reaction I am pretty moderate.

I wish that the vendors would finally realise that I don’t want to buy a new mobile every two years but that I want to keep the mobile I have come to love. I would even be willing to pay much more if they were to guarantee that the gadget works for the next 10 years. I am stupid, technically stupid, but I would be a loyal customer if finally someone would meet my needs.

2 thoughts on “I am stupid

  1. I feel the same way. I have to keep up with and use everything because of what I teach. I’d really like to do something else with my time than continually acquire and learn to use devices that don’t ultimately do anything more or dramatically better for me than the old one did.


  2. You are right. But only scratch the very surface of the deepest issue which rapid growth we all will face soon: increasing complexity and levels mixing flux everywhere. All the world will turn to miriads of smiling faces saying, singing, whispering: I am better, innovative, more valuable. Services, things, politics, law, social interactions. Even gods, some of them already have thousands of faces and hands. The old, not so good but good enough, will be hardly found.


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