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There is rarely a week that passes in our house without someone losing a charger or headphones malfunctioning. I now keep spare chargers under lock and key. The power is going to my head.
In the old days you could get through the week without paying out too much money, but technology has conspired to make life both more challenging and more expensive.
In our house there is rarely a fortnight that goes past without someone’s charger disappearing or their earphones packing in. I now keep my own charger under lock and key because people ‘borrow’ it when they can’t find their own. Countless times I have found my phone on 8% battery with no sign of a charger. I have explained that I need my phone for work. It’s like I’m talking to the wind. Teenagers’ need to listen to the latest words of wisdom from BTS is apparently greater. I have taken to ordering chargers in three packs on eBay and then hiding them in a secret place and dispensing them on an as and when basis. This has the up side of giving me great power and I can negotiate quite a lot of favours in exchange for a charger.
Then there is the small matter of phones. They tend to break, stop working or get lost [along with Oyster cards and all manner of other things]. When this happens the teenagers hang around you, looking haunted. “You don’t understand, mum. I NEED my phone,” they say. And not just any phone. It has to be an iphone and nothing in the 1-5 register. There appears to be no rhyme or reason for this beyond what “people at school” will think if, woe betide, they turn up with a Samsung or HTC.
Only son is a big fan of the iphone SE, mainly because I’ve got one [it’s full of all his apps. I recently deleted Pokemon because it was draining all my battery and popping up in unusual settings, such as work meetings. “There is a xx dragon waiting to fight you nearby”, it informs me]. Only son has been suggesting deals by which he gets my phone and I get something much older and slower. I don’t think he has fully grasped the concept of the reciprocal nature of deals. In any case, I have admitted that I have no need of an iphone – in fact it was only son who talked me into upgrading in the first place. All I need is email access and the ability to receive calls. I don’t have time or the need for anything like apps or taking photos or the like.
It is ironic, therefore, that only son has adopted me as his tech guru. While his sisters check out depop and the like for phones, only son knows in his heart that the chances of getting some new-fangled tech are remote so he has taken to raiding the shed for old tech and trying to revive it. This is something I am keen to encourage. “If you watch enough of those Youtube tutorials,” I tell him, “you will be able to fix all your sisters’ phones and repair all our old computers so that we never need to resort to eBay again.”
In the meantime, he has been asking for my help to bring an old pre-2005 computer back to life. He has connected an old hard drive to a newer screen, rewired everything so it comes on and used a wireless keyboard from a Kano computer. The main problem is no wifi. I decided that something called a wifi adapter dongle would make all the difference. We tried to install it, but I think only son entered the wrong SSID and the whole thing has frozen. “Can you fix it, mum?” he asked hopefully. I don’t like to let people down, but I have no real idea what I am doing with tech. I just hit next, next, next, finish. Or I switch the computer off and then on. That is the sum of my technical knowledge, but I like to think that I do so with panache.
I have volunteered to try to reinstall the software tonight – after I’ve turned the computer off and then on again. I’m going for the full frontal on off next, next, next, finish combo attack. Wish me luck.