I’ve always been at least two products behind in the technology world. Didn’t get a cell phone until I was a senior in college which was a pay-as-you-go, upgraded to a RAZR in 2008 and finally a phone with a QWERTY keyboard for more speedy texting (what all the kids were doing) just over a year ago. “Welcome to the future!” I said to myself. “Welcome to the present and/or recent past!” my friend with an iPhone corrected.
Just this year, I bought my first brand new, never before used computer. Made it through undergrad and a few years of work on a new-in-2002, hand-me-down Dell laptop. Like a baby who is just building up its neck muscles, the screen of the laptop would wobble around if it was even slightly bumped. I worried that one day it would just break in half (unlike a baby). But I made it work and it lasted just about as long as I needed it to.
Anyway, my point is, I am a little behind the times, but I have always felt fairly competent operating new technologies. Apparently, I had not met my match yet.
I have never felt so much like Brendan Fraser in Encino Man (better than Pauly Shore, I suppose) as I did the other day trying to fill my cup at the soda fountain in Five Guys (a burger joint out here). There was just one (ONE!) spicket/spout/thing for liquid and ice to come out of. I filled my cup with ice since this was still done the way you would expect it to be. But then, I wanted a Cherry Coke.
There was a screen with all of the sodas that they offered on the front of the machine. My internal dialogue* went as follows:
*I know, dialogue is supposed to be for two people, but I was so conflicted!
Me: This looks like a touch screen, just try touching the Cherry Coke logo.
I touched the Cherry Coke logo. Nothing happened.
Me: Push it harder.
Me2: But what if it isn’t a touch screen? Then people will think you’re an idiot.
Me: They probably already do, just push it harder. Oh, look! There’s a metallic round button in the front that says “PUSH” on it! Push that!
I pushed the metallic round button and placed the cup, which, at this point, is filled with nothing except a little bit of ice and a lot of hope, under the spicket/spout/thing. Again, nothing. There was a group of people sitting and chatting who probably didn’t really care what I was up to, but there was this one dude who was sitting by himself. He was judging me and my ineptitude with 21st century soda fountain technology, I could feel it.
Me2: Maybe take a break, go sit down and wait until they call out your number and then try again, when you’re less panicked.
Me: Are you sure you don’t want to try just pushing both buttons, but just a little harder and more frequently? I mean, what if you go back and you still can’t do it?
Me2: Yeah. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to figure it out…
And I walked away. Without thinking, I went and sat far away from the machine with my ice cup, waiting for my number to be called. A group of people walked in after me. They ordered their food and made their way over to the soda fountain and without any trouble got their drinks.
Me: WTF!? I’m smart and capable! I should be able to do that!
Me2: I probably should have sat closer to the machine so I could see how other people made it work. And now it’s too late. I can’t creepily walk up behind them to spy on them and what sodas they choose and how they choose them, and it would be extra weird to ask them for their help.
Me: I know! I’ll discreetly ask the dude who gives me my food when they call my number. I’m sure it’s something simple that I’m missing and he could easily explain it.
I waited and then my number was called. I walked over grabbed my food and asked him.
Me (to him): (Trying to be cool) Hey, how does the soda machine work? I had some trouble with it earlier.
He started to walk out from behind the counter to meet me at the soda fountain.
Me: No! No! No! If you come around then whatever is left of my “cool” cover will be blown! I will look, unmistakably, like a complete idiot!
It was too late, he was already there.
Him: First you choose your drink.
He looks at me as if asking me a question.
Me (to him): Cherry Coke.
He touches the Cherry Coke logo, just as I had unsuccessfully tried to do before.
Me: It was a touch screen! I knew it! You should have pushed harder.
He grabbed my cup and put it under the spicket/spout/thing and pushed the metallic round button that said “PUSH” on it. And as if transported to the land of milk and honey, Cherry Coke started flowing. You would have thought that I would’ve been happy, but no. I took my Coke and my food and I ate and drank in shame. Technology had beat me, but I’ll be better armed for the next time.
Even Encino Man can “wheez the juice”…
For the record, this is not a good movie, but it’s the only thing 1992, Sean Astin, Brendan Fraser and and Pauly Shore have in common, as far as I know.