Monday, June 26, 2006

High-Tech Low-down

‘Scuse me while I vent my spleen about technology, as I ironically post this to the Internet from the comfort of my posh, ex-urban bedroom. You see, I’ve just wasted most of my evening on the phone to Tech Support for Sprint-Nextel, chasing down demons in my cell phone.

Can’t live with them (cell phones, not demons), can’t live without them.

A few weeks ago I noticed my voice messages were really taking their sweet time working from sender through the ether to me. In some cases, my voice-mail was taking nearly two days to reach my phone! I called Tech Support; they diddled some knobs, toggled some switches, and reset my flux capacitor.
For about a week things went swimmingly.

People started to act strangely around me, like I’d offended them.
“Didn’t you get my message?” they’d accuse.
“Why didn’t you call me back?” they’d interrogate.
Something was terribly wrong.
I thought perhaps I’d mis-set a setting within the secret confines of my cell phone software, except I never go there.
Kind of like getting lost in thought because it’s unfamiliar territory.

So I called Sprint-Nextel Tech Support. Again.

We re-set the traps.
We re-wound the springs.
We re-combobulated the thingamajigger.
It worked for about a week.

Text messages began to fail to down load.
The phone phailed to ring every time.
It was like the last time I lost my job, and folks were afraid to talk to me.

What was I going to do, spontaneously combust?
Instead, I called Tech Support. Once again.

I’ll spare you the details, but bottom line, they couldn’t fix it, and suggested I go get the phone swapped out at my friendly, close-by, neighborhood Sprint-Nextel authorized dealer.

Yeah, my idea of a quality evening is going to the mall and threading between the clusters of flat-bellied, full-chested teens. At least I am invisible to them now, as is anyone over the age of 26.

The cheerful attendant at the friendly and convenient Sprint-Nextel kiosk in the mall regretfully told me that I would actually have to visit the officially-sanctioned Sprint-Nextel repair location, which unfortunately had closed for the evening, but will be open tomorrow morning, about midway through my Radio show.

I can’t think of a better way to waste my time during the day than by lollygagging in that waiting room. I’ll let you know how the next episode in this epic round-robin plays out. For all the conveniences and amazing advances technology has provided us, only high-tech stuff can truly screw up your life.

In simpler times it was not so.
Your phone didn’t work, you called Ma Bell.
That was the good side of monopolistic telephone empires.
At least when it broke, there was no guess work involved in calling for help.

Same thing when the power went out.
In the dark?
Only one place to call.
Ready Kilowatt and I were good friends.

Technology has even found it’s way into places of worship.
Now you can watch Joel Osteen cavort and genuflect nearly anywhere in the world. At our house of worship, which is not Lakewood Church, we’ve installed a computer projector with which our song services are blazoned across a giant screen suspended over the pulpit. Nothing says Our God, He is Alive like quarter- and eighth-notes three feet tall.

Now going to worship is a lot like going to work.

Frankly, I miss the distinction between the two, and secretly long for the days—I’d probably even settle for water-cooled air conditioning—when you sat in cool, varnished wood pews, and sang praises out of well-worn pages of hand-me-down hymnals.

And no one’s cell phone went off during the prayer.

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