I really tried.
The goal was a tech-lite vacation. And though I brought my laptop along on our family’s island vacation, my plan was not to use it for more than emergencies and an occasional mail check (and for the free wireless I knew I’d find during our Charlotte layovers.)
I was doing pretty well, even though the men in my life stayed surreptitiously connected on their own hidden Blackberries. Alas, it’s a challenge to hide a 17-inch MacBook Pro.
The one technology I did plan to use on vacation was my brand new Kindle, which I lovingly loaded with five bestsellers, Newsweek, and a few free newspaper trials.
All was going well at the beach. I finished Jennifer Weiner’s Certain Girls (love the Philly Jewish setting) and was nearly halfway through Breaking Dawn. At the moment I started ranting about the choice of the name Renesmee(!), my marvelous little toy froze. I didn’t even go bop when it stopped. (Apologies to Tom Paxton!) Anyway, I could neither turn it off nor on.
Picture it. I packed no paperbacks. Not a single magazine. I faced a week of booklessness on a beach vacation after planning my bookfullness so responsibly.
I tried to hide my panic. I didn’t want my family to observe (or mock) my growing anxiety and looming depression. Like many families, when it comes to technology they are always on the ready to mock, in a kind-spirited way.
What to do?
This situation required wireless! I polled residents of the neighboring condos and discovered a partial solution. The metal blinds on our borrowed condo unit blocked the building’s network. When I sat in the screened patio area, I could access the network (for a minor fee).
I went straight to Amazon support. I completed an email form and got a response the next morning with a phone number to call for support. When I reported this news to the family, my husband reminded me that roaming charges off the mainland, during one of those lengthy support experiences I often described, might be something I’d later regret.
While attempting to look relaxed in front of a family who was increasingly convinced I was breaking down, and nearly ready to mock my addiction, I came up with Plan B.
I went back to the patio in search of a Kindle forum. I soon discovered that I was not the only one to have her precious and marvelous little toy freeze. The forum offered two possible solutions.
- One: a three-key command that I found challenging with my clumsy fingers. (As a matter of pride, I refused to involve extra family hands in this particular solution) Anyway, it didn’t work.
- Two: The forum noted that if you remove the battery door from your Kindle you will find a secret reboot button. If you stick the end of a paper clip in that reboot hole, while the Kindle is plugged in, my forum heroes swore this would magically restart my Kindle. Some in the forum also swore that they no longer traveled without a paper clip.
This seemed like an easy fix.
I smiled until I realized that I didn’t have a paper clip.
I searched the condo. I searched all of my bags, my kids’ bags, my husband’s bags. I found them all paper clip-free. You probably have no idea how hard it is to find a paper clip in paradise.
It’s very hard.
What to do?
In my wallet I found a little button that I picked up at a long-ago conference. I was able to pull the wire part out of the button and unbend it into a paper-clip like device.
I plugged the Kindle in and inserted the end of the wire. Voila! The thing began to charge. Next morning, my toy came back to life. Hooray!
I happily discovered even more implausible (for a vampire/werewolf world) Breaking Dawn action.
So you may be wondering about that little button, the low-tech device that sacrificed itself so that I might read again.
It said blogger.
(Maintaining a brave face during the crisis)