A technologically-flippant woman’s guide to technology. Part One

Going through the 7 stages of technological grief – iPhone

Alyssa: the trials and tribulations of buying a new phone.

Alyssa: the trials and tribulations of buying a new phone.

A two-year-old tangerine Mimco IPhone 5 case pathetically gasps as it attempts to hold a bursting-at-the-seams phone wallet closed. It’s worn, tired and quite-literally hanging on with one, final thread. Every friend that picks it up tries to tear off the stressed magnet clasp. My desperate response is to scream, “Don’t you dare touch that!”

I am a shining example of a technologically-flippant woman, living in a technology-saturated era. While I’m forced to live in the age of WiFi, laptops, gadgets and ‘gear,’ I believe I would be equally as happy in a world of typewriters and cord phones (both of which I have in my house). The reality of having to buy a new tech item is bewildering and beguiling and I choose to stay firmly-perched on my throne of belligerence. I have entered into the seven stages of technology grief.

Stage one – Shock and denial

My phone is constantly plugged into the wall. I have been told more times than necessary that I needed to get a new one; “But they don’t make the Mimco cases for the iPhone 5s anymore.”

When the fateful day rolled around that my mobile held it’s battery for only 10 minutes and couldn’t even struggle through a phonecall with my Mum without charging past the apocalyptic red battery bar, I knew it was time. That horrendous feeling washed over me – I have to brave the tech people and purchase a new phone. Cue the seven steps of grief: Shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression reflection loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, acceptance and hope.

Stage two – Pain and guilt

If I'm honest. I use my phone for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat to take inordinate amounts of selfies and videos of my makeup looking really good. Every time I want to upload to new video of myself closing and opening my eyes to show the different angles of my flawless makeup on Instagram I have to delete the previous twelve. This is pain I tolerate.

It's while I'm watching videos of Boston Terrier puppies and using Apple maps to navigate to the nearest coffee shop that I suddenly feel terrible pangs of guilt over my dying phone. What if I had updated my profile more often instead of just continuously clicking 'remind me tomorrow' for the past few months? Like that would have made a difference?

Enter the third phase - depression, reflection and loneliness. The slightly-depressing fact remains that the only other real things I care about on my phone are my cute little games. All my Candy Crush high scores are now entombed within my darling, withering phone carcass. Bubble Witch, Ninjump, Soda Crush, Cut the Rope. What will happen to the cute little critters in Pet Rescue – will they just be lost in obscurity because there is no-one there to rescue them? What will I do when I want to ignore people on the train? What will I do when I’m relaxing in front of Masterchef on the couch – actually watch the damned show?

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The next stage is called “The upward turn.” This phase comes into action as I walk into the Apple store on the uppermost floor of Sydney’s Broadway shopping centre. I stand back patiently to peruse my options. The light is perfectly curated to make me want to buy. The music is trendy.

The terrifying question put towards me by the apple shop attendant is, “So what do you want in a new phone?”

My god their staff are so incredibly upbeat, helpful and trendy and I fear that I just glare at them with a slightly judgemental furrowed brow and point at the rose gold one, simply because I like the colour. Somewhat out of order, anger and bargaining rears its head.

The dialogue goes a little something like this:

Friendly, smiling Apple clerk: “What current plan are you on?”

Me, frowning: “I don’t know. I just pay the number when it turns up…”

Upbeat and increasingly-irritating person: “What amount of gig do you download per month?”

Continued frowning: “I don’t know. It depends if I’m stuck in airports in that month.”

I just want to scream, “I don’t care!” I don’t have a clue about running speeds, memory space, screen clarity or any of that jazz. My priorities rank in the categories:

  • I want it to hold a charge;
  • I want to not have to delete photos when I want to take more photos;
  • It needs to fit into a case that Mimco currently stocks.

Why Apple products you ask? I like their packaging. They have excellent marketing. It’s made for people who don’t want to spend inordinate amounts of energy trying to work out how to get certain apps to work. Being aware of why I am attracted to a certain type of tech product is part of my ‘working through’ stage. It’s an integral part of the reconstruction and rebuilding phase.

The final stage of the cycle of technological grief is acceptance and hope. The shining glory of walking out of the shop with a gleaming new phone in a shiny bag, peeling off the plastic off the screen (which is as close to orgasm as any tech product will ever get me) and going into Mimco and paying an overpriced amount for a shiny new black iPhone case, it’s magnet clasp still in fully-functioning capacity. The iPhone 6 something clips into its new black patent leather case with a satisfying snap.

I look down to my now-aging IPad and realise that the two don’t match anymore. They previously resided in matching tangerine Mimco cases, looking like different-sized sisters. Now I just need to get a new matching iPad case but they don’t make patent black for an iPad 2! Cue the next phase of the 12 steps of technological grief.

Alyssa is a freelance writer, editor, journalist.

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