Whilst I can’t deny some part of today’s struggle has been self-inflicted as a result of the weekend’s birthday festivities, I am nonetheless in wonder at the absolute FUCKTARDERY (excuse my French) of some organisations when it comes to customer ‘service.’ I ranted the other day about Bank of Scotland but today they’ve excelled themselves even further, keeping me on the phone for a SECOND FORTY FIVE MINUTE PREMIUM RATE PHONE CALL (and breathe…), at the end of which they were not only no closer to finding out what the problem is with my account that is preventing the balance transfer for which I applied for this card in the first place, they also managed to accidentally hang up on me. In my frankly irate state I completed a rage-filled complaint form and was duly called back by someone in the complaints team (a new one to add to the repertoire of players I’ve been fobbed off with in the past week), who has assured me she is now dealing personally with the matter. No doubt tomorrow will bring further anger-inducing developments in this painful saga. Stay tuned, folks…(and please trust me when I advise you never, ever to apply for a credit card with the Royal Bank of Scotland).
Meanwhile, the writing magazine website I recently subscribed to for the princely sum of £9.99 per quarter is also having trouble with identifying my account as a subscriber account, barring my access to the subscriber-only writing competitions that were a big part of why I signed up in the first place.
I honestly don’t know what I’ve done to offend the god of technology, but it must be something pretty awful to warrant all this torment….
It is 10am on the first (and only) lie-in of the week. The doorbell rings and my boyfriend leaps from the bed with uncharacteristic enthusiasm and bounds down the stairs like an excited puppy. Something, I think as I prop myself up on my pillows, is decidedly wrong with this picture.
Moments later he is struggling up the stairs holding a large box which, I subsequently discover, contains a 42 inch plasma screen television. All is suddenly clear. Some twenty minutes later we are sitting, on opposite sofas, staring at this new leviathan in our midst. An hour later still, nothing has changed. In such a short space of time our relationship has been distilled into this no-man’s land of technology over romance. We have access to every channel known to man, and yet, we are doomed.
From this day forward we are destined to be governed by the omnipresent God of computer wizardry, gangling hither and thither between reality and cyberspace-never the ‘twain shall meet. But, on the plus side, the hotly anticipated next series of Game of Thrones will look pretty badass on the new HD purchase…(Shallow? Me? Absolutely). Maybe having a big TV isn’t so bad after all…
Last night, as I walked home from work, I noticed for the first time a small memorial garden outside one of the tower blocks near my flat. Having walked past it many times before without ever registering its existence in my conscious mind I was surprised, especially in light of all the useless information my brain does hold onto each day, the majority of which I’m ashamed to admit is acquired through social media.
When I got home I caught the end of a feature on The One Show about the effects of the digital revolution on the human brain. In it, it was claimed our brains are now so re-wired by all the digital technology we consume that, on average, we wake three times a night because of the sheer over-stimulation of it all. After watching this programme did I, therefore, remove my mobile phone from the bedroom and retire early to bed with a cup of cocoa and a good book? Did I heck. I went to bed too late, checking my Facebook right before switching off the light. Then, five minutes after closing my eyes, I opened them again to make some notes about a story idea on my iPhone’s notepad. And again five minutes after that to check for an email response from a friend and add an action to the To Do list. No wonder I slept fitfully and had the strangest dream about a cannibalistic house…
It’s scary to think we’re so habitually ‘plugged in’ to technology that we don’t see things like beautifully-kept gardens even though we walk past them every single day. There’s too much buzz, too many distractions, our choices are no longer our own and, as a result, our concentration levels ‘in the real world’ plummet. I find that all the time with my writing. Whereas once I would think of a story, sit down and write that story, now I think of ten stories and feel so paralysed by choice I struggle to write any of them. That may or may not be down to my addiction to technology, but it probably doesn’t help.
Maybe it’s time to banish the phone from the bedroom and start using an alarm clock. In the words of Mister Tesco, every little helps…
Six days into my 365 day writing challenge and already I’ve cheated a bit. I mentioned my technological failings in the first post, and I was by no means exaggerating. It’s taken far longer than I had hoped to get this site set up, and whilst I haven’t been cheating with the actual writing – I have posted something every day on the WordPress blog linked to the site – I have in the sense that it’s still not ‘live.’ Which is why I’ve decided today is the day, and hang the design issues. If I wait any longer for ‘tech support’ (which feels strangely reminiscent of Vanilla Sky) to respond to my email I may never get the damn thing up and running, so please accept my apologies for the slightly-too-small font on The Writing page and don’t let it put you off reading – I will endeavour to fix this as soon as I possibly can.
On the subject of technological failings, I am reminded of the preface to this month’s Psychologies magazine (the only magazine I will allow myself to regularly purchase, and a throwback to my educational background), in which the editor, Clare Longrigg, says the following: “In today’s digital office, we often find ourselves puzzling over how to do this or that bit of uploading or formatting. Most of us wait for the technician to make time in his or her busy schedule. There are some, however, who get stuck in and, no matter how long it takes, figure out how to do it. They then become the go-to person who teaches everyone else.”
Mindful of this lesson, I refrained from asking anyone for help today as I battled to figure out the frustrating intricacies of the website building software, and I’m pleased to say that even though I didn’t find a solution for the font size issue in The Writing section, I did come quite a considerable way in developing my understanding of how websites work. It’s a small step but one that I’m proud of, because all too often I do just ask for help without trying to work out problems myself, and that, as Clare Longrigg quite rightly says, is the lazy person’s solution. To be a real go-getter you must push yourself to go and get; if others do it for you how will you ever learn and grow?
I couldn’t think of a better image to represent the title of this blog than this one – the group shot of everyone on the Raleigh International expedition I volunteered on in January 2011. I was the Communications Officer on the expedition, and was fortunate to visit several of the community-based projects that the groups were working on. It was a fantastic three months and I met some truly inspirational people (my boyfriend among them!) I’d recommend the experience to anyone who is stuck in a rut and thinking that there must be ‘more’ to life – there is!