My son was home for Mother’s Day. He goes to school in grand Forks, but it may as well be at the end of the earth. Wait, actually I think Grand Forks is the end of the earth. Him coming home was a gift in itself. But he did give me another gift. He promised me that I texted him ahead of time to give him a heads up that I was calling with an i-phone question he wouldn’t black my number. I thought that was very generous of him. One of the professors Nik works for as a Teaching assistant is Dr. Vitton. He is 82 years old, has and i-phone and doesn’t know how to do anything with it either. Like me he never pushes the giant red END bar when he is finished talking on the phone either. So i-phone challenged people are a huge part of my son’s life. Nik is taking some summer school classes so when he was home he was sitting at the kitchen table working on his laptop answering some e-mails. I was sitting at the the table too texting my sister. I still text with one finger. I was slowly but surely tapping out my test. I know the concept o texting is short messages but personally I write paragraphs at times. Of course it took all my concentration to tap out my message. But at one point I felt eyes upon me. So I looked up and Nik was giving me the evil eye.
NIK: Mama, what are you doing?
ME: Texting Aunt Mary
NIK: Are you still texting with one finger?
ME: Yes, my thumbs are too fat and I get nothing but gibberish when I try to test with two fingers.
NIK: I hate to break it to you but with auto-spelling some of your texts still come through as gibberish. Do you ever read over what you text?
ME: No, doesn’t that defeat the purpose and the concept of texting?
NIK: Well, then you need to watch the auto-correct more closely while you are texting. You know the phone is making every attempt to think for you and it will drop down the word it thinks you are trying to spell.
ME: Yeah, I get that.
NIK: I am just saying. Once you texted me that you loved me with all your “fart”
ME: Stupid phone.
NIK: And mama, you know you can turn off that clicking sound.
ME: No I did not know that, but truthfully I like that clicking sound.
NIK: OMG mama, why would you like that annoying and irritating sound which is by the way driving me crazy.
ME: I think I need the sound because I learned to type on a typewriter. Each click is reinforcement that I successfully hit a letter even if it isn’t the right one. Think of it this way. The clicking sound strings together my words and my thoughts. It helps me keep track of what I am saying. Does that make any sense to you?
NIK: Absolutely none whatsoever. So can you text, Aunt Mary in your bedroom. I can’t concentrate with all that clicking.
While Nik was home I forgot to ask him how to fix a problem with the i-phone that has been irritating me. Sometimes while I am texting the scree goes from portrait to landscape position. So there I am jiggling my phone back and forth trying to get it on portrait. I can get the screen to portrait mode but then when I position the phone to start texting it flips back to landscape. With a fair warning to Nik, I texted him I had an i-phone question and I got the go ahead to call him.
ME: Nik, my phones screen constantly changes from portrait to landscape when I am trying to text. And jiggling it back and forth isn’t working for me.
NIK: What do you mean by jiggling?
ME: You know I twist the phone back in forth trying to get the screen in the right position.
NIK: I am guessing you are jiggling it too much but with you that is beside the point. Let’s just permanently put the screen on portrait.
ME: You can do that?
NIK: Mama, you can do just about anything with the i-phone. Can you put me on speaker phone?
Proudly, I answered that I was now capable of doing that.
NIK: OK. Hit the home button twice and a little area will come up at the bottom of the screen that shows what apps are open.
ME: I don’t know what you are talking about. I pushed the home button twice and it took me to a keyboard and then back to the main screen.
NIK: You have to push in the home button faster. In other words double click on the home button.
ME: You mean to tell me there is that much difference between pushing on the home button twice and double clicking on the home button?
NIK: Evidently there is for you. [His voice was getting a little edgy. He had to be to work in an hour and I think he was worried we won’t successfully get this problem resolved and he would be regretfully looking forward to having this conversation again.]
ME: OK. I got the bar on the bottom. Now what?
NIK: On that bar should be all the apps that are open on your phone. How many apps do you have open?
NIK: I doubt it. Did you swipe our finger from right to left to see what other apps are open?
ME: No, was I supposed to?
NIK: Just swipe your finger.
ME: Oh, now I see. All my apps are open.
NIK: That is what I thought. You should close all the ones you are not using to save on the battery life.
ME: OK. How do I close them?
NIK: Put your finger on any app and hold it there for a few seconds. Obviously, don’t choose the phone app.
ME: Got it. OMG, I wreck something on my phone.
NIK: Now what did you do?
ME: All the apps are jiggling like they are warning me that they are about to disappear forever.
NIK: They are supposed to be jiggling.
ME: How come the apps can jiggle so easily when I hold my finger on them, but I can’t jiggle the phone to cooperate and get the right portrait screen? Who is really in charge here?
NIK: I think we both know the answer to that question.
ME: Well the apps are still jiggling like they are having a spasm attack.
NIK: Do you see in the upper right hand corner a red circle with a negative sign on each app?
ME: Yes, I thought it was some sort of distress signal.
NIK: Just tap that circle and that closes the app.
ME: Should I close all the apps?
NIK: Well, probably not the phone app since we are talking on the phone.
ME: Makes sense. I got all the apps closed, I am saving tons of battery life, and ready for the next step.
NIK: Swipe your finger left to right this time and tell me what you see?
ME: A musical note in an orange box, 3 other buttons and a square with a circular arrow in it.
NIK: Right. Now if you tap on the box with the arrow a paddle lock will show up. Now your screen is locked on portrait position. If you ever want to unlock it just tap that same icon again.
ME: Amazing! What are the other buttons?
NIK: Mama, not now. I am sorry but I need a break from your i-phone inadequacies. Besides I have to go work for Dr. Vitton in about a half hour.
Later Nik told me that when he walked into Dr. Vitton’s office, he was sitting at his desk jiggling his i-phone back and forth. At least with Dr. Vitton, Nik is paid to put up with i-phone incompetence.