Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Down the Up (Grade Shame Spiral) Staircase

There's something especially insidious about seeing this icon on the screen of any of your Crapple products. That little red circular "1" tells you more than you ever need or want to know about the tsunami that's about to bury your electronic world: the dreaded software "upgrade." The most recent red "1" showed up a few weeks ago on my iPhone, like a boil. And I've been procrastinating lancing that boil ever since. As anyone with a Crapple product knows, a software upgrade is no easy fix. Initiating this process shuts down access to your device for hours, only to reboot with a million bugs and glitches that must be fixed with yet more software upgrades, at some later point in time as yet to be determined. 

But as usual, there's a larger point here, which is this: far be it for me to experience these upgrades absent the requisite degree of neurosis. The upgrades make me angry, but then they make me angry for being angry, thus propelling me downward into an unrecoverable shame spiral that goes something like this: What does my rage at a software upgrade say about the kind of person I am? I'll tell you what: I'm obviously a deeply misguided, vacuous soul who is overly-dependent on mobile and other electronic devices to function in her personal and professional life. Instead of doing yoga and viewing the world through my third eye; smelling flowers with/smiling at my kids' joy and wonder at the world; and being present/harnessing the "power of now," I am instead cursing the late great Steve Jobs for making my life a living hell. Except wait! It's actually not a living hell. A living hell is being an orphan in a Sudanese refugee camp who is missing a limb, who gets one meal of mashed yams per day, and who has no idea where any of their family members (including their parents) are, or if they are even still alive. A living hell is most assuredly not--I repeat--NOT waiting 20 minutes for your phone to reboot only to discover that it doesn't work the way you want it to. 

This is the sort of endless loop my mind runs as I get angrier and angrier at Steve Jobs for making me dependent on his stupid invention and then forcing me down the staircase of upgrade shame for making me think any of it actually matters. Then I start wondering why most people can (apparently?) just upgrade their phone without thinking about any of this. And then I have to debate for the millionth time whether the fact that I am not one of those people is a blessing or a curse.

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