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Why Is Technology Mean to Me?

It is never easy to re-examine one’s fundamental convictions, but now I am forced to question my previous disbelief in the existence of Satan. I am compelled to confront this ugly possibility by the fact that from time to time my electronic devices seem to fall under demonic possession.

Now, I should start by saying that I am not someone with a natural animosity toward personal technology. I have been known to be completely reasonable when the supermarket self-checkout machines refuse to let me proceed until I place my last purchased item into the bagging area. I patiently explain, sometimes with dramatic physical re-enactments, that, in fact, I have placed the product directly in the center of the bagging area, and even into a bag itself.

Despite these kinds of sympathetic efforts, technology finds me wanting; I am disfavored within the silicon-based community, and the situation has become so bad that it’s brought to mind this possibility of a malevolent presence — Beelzebub, Lucifer, the Dark Lord, whatever you want to call him.

Let me describe the events of last Friday, when technology was especially mean to me. I woke up in Chicago to find that my phone, which normally charges through the port on the bottom, was no longer accepting charges from that entry point. I didn’t think much of it, assuming I could clean out some dust or something.

Then I tried to pair it with my earbuds, which it usually automatically pairs with. Nothing doing. This sometimes happens, so I tried connecting it with my backup earbuds, the ones that sound like they’re beaming music from the bottom of the Pacific. These devices also refused to be on speaking terms. I went to the Bluetooth page on the phone, and it was just a bunch of “not connected” readings.

I did what any master technologist would do. I rubbed the earbuds against my phone in a seductive circular manner that I thought might foster a rapprochement. I put them in my ears and grazed the phone against my cheeks with a pressure that was amorous and gentle, but also firm. Still, the phone and earbuds refused to sync. People talk a lot about artificial intelligence but not enough about artificial obstinacy.

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