Of Geniuses and 800-year-old Hips.

geniusOn Sunday at 2:15, I have an appointment with an Apple Genius at Sherway Gardens. I bury my late-rising self in the Saturday papers for too long, and when I raise my head civil war breaks out.

Hips demand exercise. Sorry, Hips, I say, I’ve done Feet. No time for you. I need to spend that half hour on Mind and its buddy Computer. I’ll get back to you later this afternoon. Then I stand up.

“See,” yell Hips. “We’re all seized up. You should stretch one minute for every year of your life.”

“Like I’ve got an hour and a half every expletive day!”

“Look, we’re structural, we’re the foundation. Mind is just electrical.”

Mind, tyrant that it is, does what it wants, and uses up the half hour.

So I arrive at the Genius line more or less knowing what my computer problem is.

In front of me is a beautiful boy. He has apparently tagged along with his parents, probably bored out of his mind. But no, the adults go off with their Genius, and the boy remains. Is he 12? Maybe a young-looking 13? The next Genius leads him away, asking,”What do you want to work on this time?” The boy begins a lengthy answer, not a word of which I understand.

My Genius shows up. I ask him to repeat his name. It is Chinese and sounds like the French word for yes.

I haul out my Mac Air Book-3 years and 6 months old, no longer covered by that expensive extended warranty. “I have been leaving it on because it takes so long to reboot, but it shuts off while it’s sleeping. When I go back to it, it won’t turn on until I plug it in. The battery still has a charge, so that’s not the problem. Then it takes forever to boot up again.”

He starts tapping keys. “First of all, you need to turn it off as often as possible. We’ll get rid Rapport. I know your bank told you to run it, but you don’t really need it. The bank site is secure enough. I find people who have it complain their computers run slow. Then we’ll take out this. I’ll leave this window open and when you get home, plug the computer in and click “Turn off file vault.” I check it out. Who knew I was encrypting my files.

“We’ve only got 15 minutes, so we need to use out time wisely,” he says.

Okay. We must have used 3 already.

He reboots the thing. It’s already faster and no longer black and white when it asks for my password.

“So, I tried to save my photos on iCloud, but..”

“ICloud isn’t really for photos.” He grabs my iPad, plugs it in and in a trice loads my photos there as backup. “I’m like a car mechanic. I fix things. I’m not really a teacher. Come to classes where the teacher is good at that. Here’s the screen for quitting File vault again.” Then he adds, “I suppose you don’t turn the iPad off either.”

“Isn’t it off now?”

“No, it’s sleeping.”

Okay, I wonder, does he want me to turn off my iPhone as well? I don’t ask. I give him my humble thanks. I figure he just came out ahead by at least 5 minutes, kind of a slam, bam, thank you situation.

As he departs backstage, I rise from my high stool. My bags are on the floor. How did they get so far away? “See,” yell Hips. “You need to do a full set of Tai chi, not just the exercises and not just those stupid Yoga stretches.” Stooping is not going to work.I creak forward in a deep bend from the waist. Central Back screams. I stagger down the aisles of people, some of them four-years-old, playing with chained-down devices.

Across the way is a Pottery Barn outlet. Maybe I could just saunter around it. Who knew Christmas shopping started before Remembrance Day? I sidle through the crush. I never shop in stores now. See Hips above. But I spot red lunch plates, only $9. I really really want lunch plates to go with the Fiesta Ware I received when I turned 70, but have you see the prices?. $40 later, I have a huge box of plates. I get to the outside door, but before I press the button to open it, I go back to the store to ask for a bag. Carrying the heavy box has threatened to tip me forward.

Starbucks is jammed, but a welcome rest stop.

I am parked on the deck, way out beyond civilization, past construction. I see there is a yellow hatching on other side of the road for pedestrians, complete with barriers. Cars without parking spots are cruising nose to tail slowly around blind corners. Pedestrians on the other side are flattening themselves against hoardings as I did on the way in. The walkway I’m on is more roundabout, but finally, it leads me across the road between cars to a seven inch curb painted yellow. Okay. There’s a low wall on the left. I put one hand on it to balance and step up, ignoring Hips who are crying out in agony. I glance right. A good-looking young man is looking at me. He smiles his congratulations. I’ve made it.

Good-looking young men used to check me out for a different reason.

Hips and Feet, with a little help from Legs, approximate walking all the way back to the little red Yaris.


Blogging Makes Me Smart (and gets me a new Mac)

WordPress made me do it.  Well, strictly speaking it was Gravatar that gave me the final push. My WordPress dashboard urged me to upgrade Safari. I couldn’t. I had gone as far as I could go with the Snow Leopard, 10.5.8, operating system. Then Gravatar went into a loop when I tried to upload an image. I went off and sulked for a few days.

Blogging was way too hard for this old girl.

Anyway, I had actually published an ebook (my memoir, Never Tell, recovered memories…) on Kindle and Smashwords, so why complain about a few hitches? The Mac iBook G4 was just fine. All it needed was a better operating system. Hang on. Didn’t I buy a better operating system last year? Didn’t I buy a new battery last fall? Isn’t it time to stop sinking money into a 6 year-old computer?

You’re wondering why it took me so long. I could say thrift, but probably it would be more truthful to say fear. What was there to be afraid of, after all? These may be lean times but my bank is still unafraid. It longs to lend me money. And if I prorate what I spent buying the old computer, it works out to about $20 a month.

The Apple sales woman’s first response when I carried in the iBook, was, “Oh, that’s really old, but I’ve seen one before.”

Using her fine deductive skills, she spoke in terms of the Mac Book Air lasting me 5 years. I sought to establish a little more street cred by producing my iPhone and mentioning my iPod. What was less impressive was the fact that I couldn’t remember my Apple password.  I almost had it, but almost doesn’t make the grade.

So I came home with the beautiful slim laptop still in virgin condition and managed with my great nephew’s help to “migrate” all the stuff on the old computer. (Who knew “migrate” could be a transitive verb? Come to that, who knew what transitive is?)

The next day, I lost the dock, the Safari bar, every single page I tried to read and WordPress menu that runs down the left of this page on which I am writing this post. I could not scroll up or down by using 2 fingers on the trackpad or using the keyboard. (What happened to the up and down arrows on the right? What happened to the bar you could pull on?) Around dinner time, I lost it.

I raved on the phone to two sympathetic friends. Well, initially sympathetic. One kept saying, “why did they change it?” (She needs a new Mac Book.) The other one kept laughing at Apple and its overpriced products.

Before I opened the chardonnay, I phoned the store. Yes, I could still buy the 1 to 1 tutoring service and yes, they could probably squeeze in a few unbooked minutes of emergency help in just so I could finish this post.

What did I learn? Keep your fingers far away from the trackpad! Scroll by separating 2 fingers, holding the others aloft and pushing up or down and  put the cursor way up to the top to find the Safari bar-without clicking, good grief. And other good stuff that all you other Mac users already knew and all you young users were born knowing.

They say the brain forms new neural pathways when we challenge it. So I’ve worked it out, blogging makes me smart!