I, like my mother, am a late and reluctant adopter of most new technology. Larry recently reminded me that for the first few years of their existence, I insisted that I did not need a smart phone, my flip phone was fine: until the day my friend Alison was able to look up the seven deadly sins at a luncheon, and I realized that I NEEDED a tiny pocket computer.
My mother resisted the smart phone until last summer, when she had vertigo and couldn’t drive. I pointed out that if she had a smart phone, she could get recent immigrants to come to her house and drive her places. The vertigo blessedly passed, but she now uses Lyft to drive her anyplace that she fears might require parallel parking, a maneuver that she flatly refuses to perform.
A few years ago, Larry replaced the manual irrigation controls for our yard with some online thing that I refused to learn to use. So recently, when I complained that I was being awakened at night by a sprinkler malfunction, he accompanied me to the side yard and began using his phone to turn on sprinklers.
One of the sprinkler zones had one dud sprinkler that didn’t pop up and sort of burbled.
“I don’t know,” I said, “I’m not sure that would wake me up.”
“Things sound louder at night,” Larry said, “I’m sure that’s it.”
I agreed to ask the gardener to fix it. When he showed up a few days later, I realized that I was going to have to use the website controls to demonstrate the problem.
I said, “I think maybe one of these sprinklers is broken,” and started pushing buttons on my phone.
Suddenly a ten-foot geyser of water shot into the air from a zone that Larry and I had not tested.
The gardener and I both stood looking at it in awe for a moment, then he turned to me and said, in perfect seriousness, “Yes, lady, is broken.”
We admired it a little longer, and he said, “You turn it off now, and I fix it.”
I said, “I’m not sure I CAN turn it off, though” and it took me a solid minute or two to figure out how to make it stop.
He tinkered with it for a few minutes, then he looked at me very dubiously and said, “I think I fix it, can you turn on?”
After a few false starts, I did manage to turn it on, and he had, in fact, fixed it.
On the plus side: the sprinkler is fixed. On the minus side: my gardener now thinks I’m a complete idiot. Or maybe he knew it all along.