I NEED A GUIDE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Guide

I do not need a caretaker, though lord knows I would certainly like someone to clean my house and also, please, cook dinner!

I need someone to guide me through what I need to do each day. Remind me what day it is. If I have an appointment. Where the appointment is. Make sure I remember to take the GPS or printed directions — or both. The GPS is a fine idea, but around these exurban spaces, it gets wonky. It sends us on bizarre excursions down woodland trails that haven’t been used since pre-Colonial days. I don’t know where it gets its mapping information.

The iPad mini 4

All the GPS’s seem to be made in Germany, so maybe that’s the problem.

I need someone to remind me whether or not I took my medication today. Or was that yesterday?

I used to have a memory that took care of all this. When that began to get overloaded, I got a PDA — a cell phone without the phone or internet. It was essentially an electronic datebook. I used mine all the time for keeping my schedule and reminding me what else needed doing. When I was working, there were a lot of things on my agenda.

Garry’s standard iPad

One day, my PDA batteries died and the entire memory left with it. Because it was my single source for everything, I developed a certain bitter feeling towards depending entirely on electronic connections.

Still, Garry and I were the first cell phone users I know. Garry was always somewhere in the middle of who-knows-where doing a story about something or other and I worked miles away, often in another state.


One of my first gifts to him was a giant brick telephone. They must have had one hell of a signal because Garry could call me from anywhere and ALWAYS get me. That battery lasted three or four days before needing to recharge.

It weighed about 5-pounds. When the Blackberry came out, we switched to them. Even Garry loved that Blackberry. It had a little keyboard and he wrote all his email on it. It had a good, clear sound for telephone calls and it worked. It was stable, strong and did exactly what it promised.

Somehow, we got snookered out of the Blackberries. They were going out of business and there wasn’t a choice, but neither of us loved a cell phone after that.

I’m okay when I have to use the Samsung we’ve got, but it’s just an emergency phone. I will never pick it up voluntarily. It has mediocre sound and I make phone calls.

I don’t text. My thumbs are the wrong shape.

I don’t write lists on it, either. We write lists on pieces of paper. With pens. Even in the grocery store where there’s barely a signal, that piece of paper works fantastically well. I should point out that we live in a river valley and our reception is pretty pathetic. Usually, now that the cell connects to WiFi, we can call out, but it’s pretty hard for anyone to call in. Especially other people who also live in a river valley — which is actually almost everyone I know.

On the other hand, if I had a guide, I wouldn’t have any excuse for forgetting everything for an entire week, then having to call everyone whose appointment I missed and remake the appointment.

I often wonder if my forgetting nearly everything isn’t my way of coping with a world that’s spinning out of control. The weather, the climate, the politics. Even this blog is crazy-time.

And then, there’s email. I clear out all the email I haven’t managed to get to on the day it arrives, usually about 250 items (depending on the volume of political and news mailings) and when I get up the next morning, there are another few hundred.

I think I need another me to remind me to be me.

Categories: #FOWC, Daily Prompt, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Technology

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16 replies

  1. You are not alone in your frustration. I will say about paper notes, though, I have started taking pictures of my grocery store lists before I leave the house. I don’t know what it is, but every time I try to take an actual paper list to a store, something weird happens. I leave it on the counter, it gets left in the car, or lost in my purse. It’s like I’m allergic to it…or it is to me. Loved your pictures. I’m wondering what kind of computer Alienware is? Are you hiding secrets about little green men?


    • That’s actually a good idea. It would also make a great collage, all the lists … I think I have crumpled up lists in the pocket of every jacket I own, too.

      Alienware is the “gaming computer” end of the Dell line. It is made by Dell, but it’s a different department, different helpline, different parts. They are gaming machines, so they have good sound — and I’m an audiobook junkie. Also, they come with really big drives and very good and reasonably powerful graphics … all of which I need for photographs. I could play games, but I never have time these days. The games take too long, but this computer is FINALLY strong enough to edit pictures and not overload.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh man, I wish I’d known about these. I recently had to move all my pictures off my computer so it would work right. I get getting low memory warnings and “failure to update” notices. Must remember to buy alien computer next time!


        • Just get some external hard drives. They are quite inexpensive — even huge ones. Get two so you’ll have a backup. Backup your pictures and delete the oldest ones once you’ve downloaded them. Even with a huge drive, it eventually fills up. Pictures are BIG.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a friend who is a real tech geek and an Apple fan to boot. He even owns an Apple iPhone which he uses to remind him of everything. It’s like being friends with Maxwell Smart! I am good at making lists on pieces of paper but I’m also good at leaving them on the kitchen bench when I go out. Luckily the act of writing things down seems to imprint most of the things on my memory.


  3. I use an iPhone and make my lists on it. And use the calendar on it for appointments. It has an alarm I can set and it will remind me. Use it for my camera also for the few pictures I take. It also has a calculator.
    Phone calls sound good. It remembers all the contacts. I am typing on it now. Use it for blogging. also an alsrm clock.
    If it could only cook I would be all set.


  4. I’ll start with the Blackberry. A good device that I never owned. Everyone I knew had one and cried at its demise. It’s back now with its familiar keyboard on a cell phone but too late in the game to restore its fame. Next..you don’t fool me. You are a true tech geek at heart!
    Look at all the technology you own and most of all… YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT!
    I’m impressed with you using tech (with all its faults) to make life better for yourself. Gary’s included too with the hi-tech hearing aid implant!
    OK, Im back on earth now….
    How about using Amazon Echo in your home? I have the first Gen and I use it mostly for shopping lists. I say Alxea, put popcorn on my shopping list. She says “OK.”
    When I get to the store, I go to the Alexa App, pull up the shopping list and everything is there. It comes up as a checklist so I can check off the items in the cart as I go. Paper and pencil still work (without WiFi) but a true tech geek shouldn’t pass this up. Also, there is a ‘To-Do’ list for Gary.


    • What would I use it for? To turn on the TV? We don’t have automatic windows, doors, or anything else. We are at this point, aside from computers, pretty low tech. We got Alexa on both our Kindles and I turned it off. A piece of paper is so simple. And we ALWAYS have paper and usually, a pen. All I do is pull the paper out of my pocket. No app. No devices. Not wifi required. Paper. Pencil.

      I am not a tech geek, or more to the point, I’m not into things that are essentially useless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You could use it for music. My sister still uses a carousel CD to play music. Alexa can play what you ask on a dime and create playlists for dinner events. Reminders – a big thing. I ask her to remind me to call my brother at 7:00, and she does. Cooking..Set my timer for 30 mins. Alarms..wake me up at 5:30am. Reading..She reads audio books.
        You may not want to use these things, but its by choice, not ignorance. That’s a geek to me, even a low tech one.


        • I will think about it, but I’m pretty okay with the computer doing exactly the same job. But without the noise. We have a ton of CDs, so I had to really hunt for a cd player. I have downloaded music, but I also have stuff that you can’t get downloaded. And I listen to audiobooks on multiple devices, in a variety of formats from Chromebook to Kindle to PC to Mac.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I would be lost without my cellphone. We have a good reception in Switzerland although no-one really calls me except for my son and wife, and that all goes through the messenger system from Facebook with videos and facetime stuff. I have everything in my cell phone, even an inventory of my cupboards in the kitchen. I have the shopping list, and if I see a book that interests me in Amazon I make a quick note to perhaps upload it when I am bookless. I must admit I went for the iPhone X when it came out and have never regretted it. My first smartphone was a hand me down from Mr. Swiss, and now I have overtaken him. He has stayed with the iPhone 7. These days I also have to be the memory for Mr. Swiss, so I really need this phone. I am an iPhone person I must admit.


    • I suspect having a good connection makes a big difference. In this kind of locale, the signals bounce in very strange ways. The only time I try to call using the cell is when the regular phone goes out — which means the wifi is down and likely the electricity, too. But our two local (ish) friends ALSO live in river valley’s so we don’t call each other on the cell phone. They simply don’t work properly. When we had the Blackberries, which actually DID work, we used them for everything. You actually can’t GET a signal in the grocery store or in most parts of Uxbridge. Up route 16, you can’t get a decent signal until you are past Mendon and even then, it’s dodgy. We’d need to get satellite (expensive!) phones for them to work properly.

      Liked by 1 person

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