Living Matters: New device creates new set of problems

The iPad was fading. It was time to get a new device.

So I did.

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“I want something compact,” I told the young man at the store. “And I want something that will give me access to the Internet and to email.”

“They all do,” he said. He said this in such a way that I knew he would be sharing my statement with his buddies over a beer.

He suggested a particular device and told me it was on sale.

“Is it complicated?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “Not at all.”

OK, I thought. In any case, there would be instructions. I pulled out my debit card, and made off with my brand-new baby.

“That’s weird,” I said to my husband when I got home. I was holding the device and peering in the box. “There are no instructions.”

There was only a diagram of the device, which showed the locations of things like the volume key and the camera.

“You’ll probably get the instructions on the tablet when you turn it on,” he said.

“But how do I know how to turn it on without any instructions?” I wondered.

The husband began to fiddle around with various buttons, and the device suddenly flickered to life.

It displayed the usual things. Settings. Calendar. Camera.

What it did not display were the important things, the things that still lived on my failing device.

“I need to get my email on my new device,” I said to the husband. “And I need to move over my photos. And my favourites. Do you know how to do that?”

The husband, who prides himself on being a tad more tech savvy than his wife, assured me he did.

“Let’s start with your email,” he said.

He began to work the keyboard, doing heaven only knows what. I didn’t think to ask.

“OK,” he said. “We just need to plug in your user name and your password.”

I glared at the device.

“I’m pretty sure I know what my password is,” I said. “But what’s a user name?”

“It’s something we need to provide,” he said, “if you want your email up and running.”

I scratched my head and wondered if I really needed a device.

I imagined my user name was, well, my name. Turns out it wasn’t. I imagined my user name might be, well, my husband’s name. Turns out it wasn’t. I imagined my user name might be the name of the fourth babysitter we had after our second son arrived.

Turned out it wasn’t.

Eventually, the device accepted something we plugged in — after initially rejecting it three times in a row.

I was exhausted. There were still the photos and the favourites to be dealt with, but I didn’t have the energy. The faves, I thought, can stay where they are, and I’m bidding the photos adieu.

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