OPINION: Tech stress the latest malady for fifty-somethings

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
The painfully elusive “simple solution” to a technology problem can just add to your anxiety and frustration.
Camera IconThe painfully elusive “simple solution” to a technology problem can just add to your anxiety and frustration. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I’m not big on technology, yet I cannot live without it.

I do believe technological changes in this world have, in many cases, made life better.

On the other hand, I believe the impact of technology has also contributed to our stress and anxiety levels.

And there are many instances I could mention when technology has been introduced just because it is there — instances where I believe a system or process is working quite effectively, but has been altered to incorporate technology.

It’s a case of change for change’s sake.

Often, these changes have been around manual paper trails, and I can appreciate the environmental impact, but what annoys me is the new system is often more cumbersome and frustrating.

There is a phrase I like to use often: human beings are simply slaves to modernity.

Case in point — me and my mobile phone.

The other week, I woke and realised the alarm on my phone had not gone off.

I leant over and touched the screen, expecting it to light up.

Nothing. Oh no!

I touched it again.

Again, nothing.

I jumped out of bed and tapped it again and again and again.

The screen remained black, and the device was cold.

Bloody hell, is my phone broken?

What about all my contacts, my emails?

I won’t get people’s messages. I can’t ring anyone, and I don’t have a landline.

How will I get in contact with phone guests for my radio shows?

This was disastrous.

For some reason, panic had set in.

“Come on, Peter, pull yourself together,” I told myself.

Well, maybe it just wasn’t plugged in properly?

I had a shower and got ready for work.

I tapped the screen once again, to no avail.

I plugged the phone into the car adapter, and headed off, got to work.

Still dead.

I know what I will do, I’ll take it to the IT guys at work.

I’m sure they will fix it.

I left it plugged in at their office.

Several hours later, there was still no pulse from my phone. In fact, nothing happened all day. So, driving home, and in quite a bit of stress by this time, I pulled into a Telstra agent.

“I just don’t know what’s wrong with it. It doesn’t even seem to be charging,” I told the helpful assistant.

He took the phone from me, and plugged it in.

Again, it was the same story, a blank screen, and no movement at the station.

And then he tried something radical.

He turned it on.

Well, when the screen lit up, it was like the weight of the world had been taken from my shoulders.

Bloody technology!

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