When technology fails...

When technology fails...

Technology is not always what it is purported to be. I must hasten to add that I am not at all tech savvy. I am neither a data scientist nor a cloud expert. I can write an email, type a word document and run a Google search. That makes me just about ‘e-literate’. But I get by.

My brother was in Hartford on work some years ago, and I made use of the opportunity to travel through the US before landing up in his place. It was before the days of Trump and even then I wasn’t enamoured of the country. But I digress.

I had gone to Boston with a trio of techies, my brother among them. Anita, a techie’s wife, was good company. We had set out early from Hartford. We saw the hallowed universities, the other popular sights and went on the Freedom Trail. We were hungry and tired and in need of food. We looked for an Indian restaurant as the other three were keen on it. After some searching, we found one that was open and, it being late, wasn’t crowded.

There was a big discussion on what to order. In most restaurants, the menu is limited and unvaried. Finally, the menu was chosen and the waiter beckoned. The waiter wore a morose expression when he heard our order. He informed us, sadly, that none of what we had chosen was available. So we had to make do with what was available, which was wholly vegetarian. My brother and I had no problem as we are vegetarian. Others groaned but hunger got the better of them. The waiter warned us that it would take some time as all food was cooked fresh. More groans. The waiter suggested that we order some snacks and cool drinks while the food was getting ready. The unanimous choice was pakodas and fresh lemon juice.

While we were munching on the snack and sipping lemon juice, my brother excused himself and went up to the manager and had a chat with him. He came back, smiling broadly, by which I assumed that the discussion had gone well. While we waited for the food to arrive, there was friendly banter among the friends. Anita and I sat by ourselves discussing books and authors. A distraction was created when the food arrived. We helped ourselves and for a while, there was nothing but the sound of cutlery, interspersed with “Try this” or “Why don’t you have some more of this?” The meal was a leisurely one and the conversation relaxed.

Soon there was a shift and the topic of technology crept up. As usual, I was the butt of jokes and criticism. As I said, I get by and what I don’t know (there is plenty!), I leave to the experts. Just then, the waiter arrived with the bill (or cheque) and went straight to my brother. With a conspiratorial smile, he presented it to my brother. Out came his debit card. He swiped it. Then he swiped it again and again. My brother’s face blanched. Technology wasn’t working. I delved into my handbag, took out my wallet and handed it to my brother.   

This is a precaution I always take, knowing the limitations of technology.