Welcome, my friends, to the long-awaited second installment of “Things That Make Me Angry”. This time, I will be tackling a topic that I’m sure almost anybody can identify with: technology that fails to work properly.
This topic popped into my head this week because of something specific that happened to me. And it’s not really that big of a deal, but it highlights just how annoying technology is, and how irrational I am for continuing to love it even though it constantly lets me down.
As you may already know, I am a big proponent of Microsoft’s Zune platform. If you don’t know, Zune is a media service that Microsoft offers that allows you to acquire music, videos, podcasts, and so forth. The Zune HD device is part of this platform. I mostly use my Zune HD to listen to music, but Microsoft also has a few apps that are available for free.
One of these is Windows Live Messenger, which is an app that aggregates information from various social networking services, such as Facebook and Myspace, and puts them all together so you can see what all your friends are up to. Personally, the only service I use is Facebook, so it’s basically a glorified Facebook app for me, but it’s really nice. Or at least it was. Until today.
Today I happened to check the app marketplace on my Zune to see if there was anything new. Usually there isn’t, but today was an exception. Today there was, among other things, an update for the Messenger app. I get excited at stuff like this, cause new version = new features, at least in my mind. In reality it’s usually just bug fixes or whatever, but I still get excited.
Unfortunately, this particular update took a good thing and made it bad. There were no feature changes that I noticed, but the app now crashes every five seconds or so. Which is awesome.
Now, this app is not something I need. It’s not any easier or faster or more convenient to use this app than it is to just go to Facebook.com on my netbook. But I still would prefer for things to work. And it thoroughly enrages me when they don’t.
I realize that computer programs and systems are incredibly complex things. I realize that it is impossible to anticipate every possibility and it is equally impossible to thoroughly test things in such a way that every eventuality is accounted for. But I don’t care. I want my stuff to work. Not some of the time. Not most of the time. ALL OF THE TIME.
I think part of the reason why this is so frustrating to me is that I like to be in control of things. I’m a very independent person, and I like to do things my way, and I like to do them myself. So it is incredibly enraging to me when some technological thing that I’m using just refuses to work, AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT. It’s a very powerless feeling, and when I think about the fact that there’s nothing I can do, it just makes me angrier. Which makes me try harder to do something about it, and that of course just makes me even angrier. It’s a vicious cycle.
Actually, I had an experience this week that made me realize that God is making this sort of thing happen to me more often so that I can learn how to not get so angry about it. This episode technically had nothing to do with technology, but it had everything to do with being mad about something that I couldn’t control.
To make a long story short, I’ll just say that the toilet (which I suppose is technically a form of technology) was clogged, and I could not find the plunger. I know we have (or used to have) a plunger. I’ve used it before. I can picture what it looks like. But I could not find it anywhere.
Oh, this made me mad. In fact, mad probably doesn’t cover it. Burning with volcanic fury is more like it. I was stomping around the house, I was slamming doors, punching walls, swearing like a sailor. (Before you ask, my children did not have to witness this spectacular display of immaturity. One was at school and the other was asleep.) And it had nothing to do with not being able to use the toilet, because we, in fact, have two. It was simply that there was a problem that I wanted to fix but couldn’t.
And then something happened that I’m not sure has ever happened to me before. I had a conversation with God. At the time, I was so mad that I couldn’t even grasp the enormity of what was happening to me. And on the surface, there was nothing particularly special about it. No trumpets, no blazing light from heaven, no whirlwinds ala Job. I didn’t even hear any actual words. I would say something, and then it was like I just knew what God was saying in response. Essentially, he said “Grow up and get over it,” although, being God, he was much more gentle and patient than that.
Now, I realize that to a non-Christian this story probably sounds ludicrous, and I don’t tell this to convince any skeptics that there really is a God. My point is really just to let you know that I am aware that my rage towards technology that doesn’t work is kind of silly. So now you know that, and I know that, and I am well aware that God knows that. And yet I wrote a blog post about it anyway.
So basically, I need to just figure out how to not get so angry about little things. I mean, is it really that big of a deal that the toilet was clogged when we have two toilets? Is it that big of a deal that an app I never use didn’t work? No, of course not.
In conclusion, this installment of “Things That Make Me Angry” was kind of a bust. Maybe next time I’ll write about something that’s actually worth being angry about.