Embracing my inner Luddite

I thought that technology and I had an understanding. I was wrong.

“What’s the Internet?”

I can still see the expression on my boss’s face as the question spilled out of my mouth.

Shocked disbelief was quickly replaced by mild disdain, followed by that look that says, ‘I’m not angry, just disappointed.’

It was 1994 and it was (I thought) a perfectly reasonable question.

“The Internet,” he said, with an exaggerated sigh, “is a giant network of ….”

After that, he might as well have been one of those adults in a Charlie Brown TV special — you, know, the ones whose voices are just that wah-wah sound made (or so the Internet tells me) using a toilet plunger and a trombone.

As my boss droned on about all the technological wonders awaiting us along this vast new information highway, my mind was no doubt busily dissecting the previous night’s episode of  The X-Files.

Over time, though, it became clear that in my chosen line of work, the ’Net was something I was going to have to embrace, however reluctantly. It was definitely one of those, ‘if you can’t beat ’em …’ decisions.

So I joined Facebook and learned to tweet and even began downloading e-books.

I’ll admit, it all works just fine, but I have zero interest in understanding how or why.

The truth is, the average 11-year-old already knows exponentially more than I ever will about the Internet, social media and the technology that makes it all possible.

And I’m OK with that.

Technology and I have an understanding. I don’t bother it, and it doesn’t bother me.

At least, I thought that was our arrangement. Until a recent day when I picked up my smartphone to discover that every last name and number on my contacts list had mysteriously vanished — disappeared, passed on, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet their maker, joined the choir invisible.

It was an ex-contacts list.

As panic set in, I did the only thing a sensible person would do.

I freaked out on Facebook.

Fortunately, clearer heads were there to guide me.

I called the help line (as recommended) and did my best to explain my predicament to the nice man.

When the guy who does this all day actually sounded a little surprised by what had happened, I took it as a bad sign.

“Have you backed up your contacts?” he inquired.

“Um.”

“Could they be in the cloud?”

“Er.”

Do you know what the cloud is?

“Well…”

“The cloud,” he said  — without an exaggerated sigh — “is a collection of …”

As the plunger-trombone kicked in once again, my brain wandered off to handle a few other urgent tasks.

Eventually, he returned to the subject at hand and walked me through possible solutions to my dilemma.  I pressed the buttons he told me to press in the order he told me to press them.

Whether it was thanks to his guidance or through sheer force of will exuded through my desperate fingers, the blank screen magically began to fill up once again.

“It worked,” I announced happily.

“That’s great,” he replied.

“You know, I’d really like to send you some information on how to back up your phone and create an iCloud account. Would that be OK?” he asked in the same gentle tone you’d use to calm a spooked horse.

“Sure. Please do that,” I replied.

“I’ll get right on it.”

Just Posted

Langley player to compete in first NCAA basketball tournament in Canada

Former Brookswood star Louise Forsyth to play in Vancouver Showcase

VIDEO: Scouts in Langley learn how to communicate during emergencies

Weekend event at Camp McLean part of worldwide Jamboree On The Air and Jamboree On The Internet

Halloween on horseback

Langley riders club celebrates the season

ELECTION 18: Langley Township, you chose Jack Froese for mayor

Township voters went with a familiar face, handing incumbent a third term as mayor

Giants busy on ice in Langley and on the road

A teen goalie helps the squad during a glut of games.

Aldergrove Kodiaks take narrow loss to Wolf Pack

Kodiaks took a 4-5 loss in the dying minutes of the third period against PJHL’s leading team

Vancouver cops, four-legged pals pose for police dog calendar

Proceeds go to fighting cancer and helping sick kids

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometres) from the storm’s centre

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

Okanagan parachute accident kills American

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Most Read