Technology fail

Sometimes a bunch of technology fails at the same time. This usually happens whenever I try to give a demo. Sometimes, it sends me on an adventure.

A few nights ago, I went out to dinner with some friends. At dinner, I looked at my phone and noticed that the battery level was a lot lower than it should have been at that point of the night. I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe it was on in my pocket, or maybe it was something else. Knowing that I’d need my phone to get home, I turned it off.

After I left the group, I turned my phone back on. To get home quickly, I opened Uber. Before I could request a ride, my phone determined that it didn’t have enough juice and turned itself off. No problem—the train station was nearby and the last train hadn’t left yet.

I found a payphone in the station. I of course didn’t have any change, and, not having enough recent experience using payphones to think about using a credit card, I had a flashback to my trip to summer camp when I used a payphone to make a collect call to my parents. So, I followed the instructions on the phone to call collect. As I started going through the process, there was a terrible buzz on the line to the point where I couldn’t understand the prompts. I gave up and headed farther into the station.

I found my platform and spotted another phone. This time, there was no buzz. I followed the instructions, but instead of hearing my parents, I heard an error message followed by a note that I had to wait 15 minutes before calling the same number again. I wondered if my parents thought I was calling from jail. During this attempt, I tried turning my phone back on again, and this time it stayed on. I quickly texted my mom to let her know which train I was getting on and let her know about the battery situation. She told me that she had also heard an error message from the collect call and let me know that my dad would pick me up at the destination station.

Since my phone seemed to be doing well and I had time before the train, I quickly popped outside to give Uber another shot. This time, it worked and an uberX car was soon on its way. I let my parents know and sent them a link to my ride so they would know my ETA. I was relieved, and was happy to be on my way home. The driver was friendly, and we talked on and off most of the way. When we got close to the last road, he started driving very slowly, and said something along the lines of “There are houses out here?”, obviously not used to being so far from the city. I thought he was joking. When we got to the final turn, he stopped the car, and wouldn’t continue. He indicated that he didn’t believe we were heading for a house that couldn’t be seen from the road. Something about the area (or me?) had obviously spooked him, and I guess he thought I was trying to prank him or worse. I tried for about 20 seconds to explain to him that he would see a house if he only continued to the crest of the hill, but he wouldn’t move. Not wanting to spend any more time arguing, and sensitive to the feeling that he really was afraid, I got out of the car and was left in a field in the middle of a night because a driver was scared of my driveway. Achievement unlocked? At least I got my 10,000 steps.

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