Life: Unplugged

If you don’t think you’re hooked on gadgets, think again. We all are. It’s unavoidable. Even if you’re the least techie person you know. It’s everywhere. Like the air you breathe.

Just yesterday life got off to a whirring start. That is, to the whirring of a dead car battery whose juice had been sucked dry by a deadbeat radio that, go figure, still had enough gumption to bring down the car’s central operating system simply because it could.

I was not amused.

So instead of taking the sporty, two-seater, I-am-free-to-zip-to-the-TV-studio-mobile, I was obliged to wait for the tow truck to plow through a zillion snowflakes to my rescue. Watching my husband tear off into the blizzard in our blue Mazda, I dialed up the emergency assistance number to see what could be done.

Admittedly, I was in the dry, warm comfort of my very own home. It could have been worse, like waiting on the side of the Autobahn, risking life and limb to get to where I needed to be.

The tow truck guy came forty-five minutes later, sporting a heavy-duty battery smaller than a briefcase.

“This’ll do the trick,” he winked. While the car revved up to an acceptable level, we did some paperwork in his truck. He took a call, chat up a storm and finally released me to drive myself to the repair shop. It felt like an eternity, knowing I had to be at the TV studio by 1 pm. Remembering to breathe the slow, I hopped into the flow of the moment, riptide and all.

“Glad the battery charged up again because there’s no way I can make it down your driveway and back again,” he winked again.

I plowed my way through the snow drift that was the common driveway (my neighbor doesn’t like to shovel). Peeling a wheelie around the corner, I zig-zagged my way to the nearby town to deinstall the rogue radio. Or, at least, I thought.

Another thirty minutes went by before the repair guy could say, “All done!” he winked too.

I could feel the skin just above my eye begin to twitch.

“So….whadya do?”

“Oh, I unplugged the radio, then plugged it in again. You’ll get a new one by Friday. It’s a common manufacturer’s error with this car model. Only they don’t replace it until you have a problem.”

So Renault (there, I said the name) leaves it up to fate as to whether you come unplugged in the middle of, well, anywhere?

For a second time that morning, I was not amused.

Our cars operate with computers. Our lives are dictated by them too. But another unplugged moment the day before had me laughing so hard I almost cried.

My Internet was winking (do you see a theme here?) on and off until it finally disengaged altogether. So I patiently called the phone company to get to the bottom of the matter. Much like the tow truck guy, the dude on the phone was extremely helpful and chatty.

“Is it plugged in?” he asked flatly.

I’m sure he could hear my eyes rolling until I said, “Oh…” The cord had jiggled loose from the router during a particularly vigorous vacuuming session, I suppose. It’s hard to nudge all those cables out of the way to clear the dust, don’t you know?

I quietly pushed the plug back into its place, thanked the phone guy and watched my computer blink back to life.

The next time you want to throw your laptop/cell phone/tow truck guy out the window, remember this: It is amazing how much we rely on automation and when it doesn’t work, we think our lives just might end. Only they won’t. It’s after days like these that we could all use some truly unplugged time!


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