The other day I went into my local Apple store. I had a few minutes to spare before I was to meet a friend on the other side of the mall. I was interested in the iPad mini and wanted to compare models. The cellular version was $129 more than the Wi-Fi version and I wondered if it was worth it when factoring in the additional monthly charges as well.
I’m not especially proud of this fact, but there’s a traditional division of labor in my marriage. My husband Mike Brady* takes care of all things related to technology and general infrastructure in the home while I take care of all things related to the children. I know. I totally have the better end of the deal. I’ve seen him wait on hold with the phone company for what seems like an eternity, getting transferred to three different people in just as many countries, all in the effort to figure out why a mysterious monthly charge keeps showing up on our bill, like a persistent weed, even after he calls to get it removed every four weeks. Still, I’m a bit sheepish that until very recently (i.e., last week) I didn’t know who our ISP was or what ISP even stood for. But then again, Mike has no idea what HAGS** or TBH *** means. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled not to have to deal with the phone or cable company, but the downside is that my marriage has turned me into something of an idiot.
So as with all things related to technology, I solicit Mike’s opinion. Standing in the store with my backpack over one shoulder and my handbag hanging off the other, I started texting Mike to ask about the iPads when out of my peripheral vision I noticed an Apple employee approaching. She looked to be in her early thirties, wearing the blue Apple employee t-shirt and an Apple nameplate around her neck. Without bothering to look up from my phone, I said “I’m wondering if you can answer a question for me about the minis?”
The woman jabbed me in the arm. Not exactly hard but definitely forceful. I looked up to see her holding a MacBook Air with the screen facing me. I’m deaf. How can I help you? the screen said. Then she sat the laptop down right in front of me.
Wow. How cool is it that the Apple store had a deaf employee? Fantastic! I totally applaud their Human Resources department. Truly. It was just that at that particular moment . . .for me . . .working with a deaf employee was . . . a tad inconvenient. Don’t judge. This was strictly a timing issue. Between my backpack, handbag, and phone, my hands were already pretty well occupied. Plus, I only had a minute to spare before I was scheduled to meet my friend and on top of all that, I’m just an okay typist as it is. I tend to make a lot of mistakes when rushing.
I was about to type just looking but instantly felt guilty. Children of a Lesser God is one of my favorite movies. Who could say no to Marlee Matlin? Sigh. I plopped down my backpack and handbag, set my phone on the table, and started typing to Marlee. I typed a question about setting up cellular service on the mini. In response, her fingers moved swiftly over the keyboard, sounding like stampeding mice. She wrote that I didn’t have to use my iPhone provider but could use a separate provider for the mini. She showed me how I could sign up right there in the store. Impressed by her knowledge, not to mention her extraordinary typing speed, I decided to ask a follow-up question to challenge her a bit. I don’t believe in pandering. Which did she think was more cost effective: buying the iPad mini with Wi-Fi and utilizing my iPhone as a hotspot or going with the cellular version?
She was not intimated by me. She tapped her temple with her finger, which I interpreted to mean she thought my question was particularly astute and started typing again. She opened the AT&T website and showed me prices for various hotspot plans. The woman clearly knew what she was typing about.
My communication to her was filled with multiple misspellings and bad grammar. If she suspected I didn’t graduate high school, she never let on. In contrast, her communication was as clean and perfect as my eighth-grade typing teacher’s plum frost toenails on the first day of spring.
I typed that I needed to think about how I planned to use the mini, whether I wanted it more for surfing the Internet or for reading books and watching movies. She slapped the table hard and then pointed her index finger at me with the thumb raised, like shooting a gun, as if to say Finally! What took you so long?
* Not my husband’s real name, but one he reluctantly agreed I could use for the blog.
**Have a great summer.
***To be honest.