Despite my well-documented inability to get to grips with technology (defined as basically anything invented since the Stone Age), I still have the inherent Y-chromosome marker for ‘kit’.
Sadly, though, this thing I have going on with technology is a classic love/hate relationship. I love it, but it hates me.
Gadgets, boys’ toys – call it what you like. Turn me loose in Dixons – or French equivalent Boulanger – and I could play for hours. My favourite store in Abu Dhabi was called Plug-Ins: you get the picture.
In practical terms, this predilection translates into a compelling urge to own the latest bit of gear that hitherto I never realised that I couldn’t live without. Not to flaunt, you understand, but simply to possess and admire its cleverness. What could be nicer than a brushed aluminium box that does stuff? And has a green light. That blinks.
Fortunately, not least in financial terms, this must-have compulsion only applies to things that actually hold some interest for me. You’re never going to find me salivating over the newest power drill or the latest lawnmower. As for cars, I can’t even drive – and trust me, you wouldn’t want me to.
On the other hand, I simply do not comprehend why you should – or even how you could – be happy with an old iPod when there’s a new-generation touch-screen one, with a calendar (that admittedly I’ve never used) and a camera (ditto).
‘We’ bought a new television when we moved to France last year. Apparently it’s a Smart TV and can do really clever things. I have absolutely no idea how to make it do those things, but it looks nice and I can get ‘Pointless’ on it. That will suffice.
So I am technology’s devoted swain. But what does technology give me in return? Nothing but cold, sullen non-cooperation: a steadfast refusal to engage with me in any civilized manner.
Would it really be too much to ask if, just once, I could turn on a new gadget and it actually worked properly, first time? Or that it didn’t require an entire afternoon – and a stream of invective that would make a sailor blush – just to connect two things together with bits of wire so that they actually do what they are supposed to?
What’s that you say? Read the instructions first? Me? With that Y-chromosome?