I Really Gave it a Good Try -- Really

>> Friday, November 20, 2009

So ... I was driving down the street one day ... in the spooky, spooky week of Hallowe'en ... when I was taken by frustration ... by the device they call Bluetooth ....

Okay, so it doesn't rhyme, and Hallowe'en was awhile ago, but I never claimed to be a very good poet (nor punctual in my blogs). Well, at least I never claimed to be a good poet since I was 12 years old, when I also claimed to want to be an artist, a dentist, an actor, and a writer when I grew up. At that time I thought I was a good poet. Please don't hold this admission against me.

Honestly, I feel like I've given this Bluetooth thing a really good try. I mean, I know I'm all Luddite-esque about new technology, but I totally get the need for Bluetooth. It goes along with "don't email and drive" that I mentioned in an older couple of posts that I'm too lazy to find the link to. Even better, the Bluetooth is built into my car, and I don't have to wear one of those nutty earpieces. So, I've been trying to adapt to this thing since I bought this car two years ago. Two years is a long time to give something a try, so I totally get credit for perserverance.

Well ... I need to confess that the only reason I have kept trying is because my crazy cellphone is a nag, and as soon as it gets in the car, it beeps at me every 3 or so minutes to ask me if I want to connect to the Bluetooth. Even if I say, "No," it asks again. If I actually use the phone without connecting, the beep becomes truly obnoxious in my ear and makes it impossible to hear my conversation. So, inevitably, I click, "yes" to get the d*&% thing to shut up already.

In the end, though, I have to choose between scylla and charybdis with this whole Bluetooth thing. (Do I get points for spelling "charybdis" without looking it up? Actually, no, because when I Googled it to be sure I had it right, I didn't, so no points for me. Go ahead. Check me.) If I don't use the Bluetooth, I get the annoying beep, plus I run the risk of breaking the law in certain jurisdictions.

If I do use the Bluetooth ... and the voice interface with my car (for what is the point of a hands free system if you still dial manually?), this is what happens:

CAR: Phone book. Please say, "Dial By Name," or "List Names."

ME: Dial by name.

CAR: Pardon?

ME: Dial by name.

CAR: Pardon?


CAR: Pardon?


CAR: Pardon?

ME: (muttering expletives very quietly lest Toddler repeat them back) Dial. By. Name.

CAR: Dial by name. Please state the name you wish to dial.

ME: Aunt Louise.

CAR: Oldest Sister. Please press "Off hook" to dial.

ME: Go back.

CAR: Pardon?

I could go on and on like this. It took me basically 10 minutes of trying before I finally gave up. Once or twice the darn thing actually managed to recognize that I wanted Aunt Louise, but when I pressed the "off hook" switch to dial, it said, "Dialing" and then promptly hung up on me. So after a ridiculously long time trying to talk to my car and probably not seeing enough of the road because of all the smoke coming out of my ears and filling the car, I picked up the cell phone and dialed the number from memory. I know better than to try the "dial by number" option in the Bluetooth. At least with "dial by name" the worst that can happen is I dial someone in my list that I didn't intend to call. If I "dial by number" I could get anyone at all in the world -- maybe even President Obama. I don't want to risk it. (Although, if I did get President Obama on the line, I would like to ask him why he keeps making visits to the shopping mall near my house rather than moving around the largesse -- I mean, it isn't as if we lacked for shopping malls to choose from around here.)

So, I decided to stop arguing with the Bluetooth for a few hours and drove on my way. On the way home, I thought perhaps it might be safe to try again. So I tried dialing by name to reach DH at home. This is what happened:

CAR: Please say a name or say, "List names".

ME: Darling Husband, Home

CAR: Darling Husband, Work

ME: Go back.

CAR: Please say a name.

ME: Darling Husband, Home

CAR: Darling Husband, Cell

And on, and on and on. Then I decided to try the "List Names" function. After a few moments, I remembered why I don't like that function, and there are many reasons. For one, I have to listen to my own voice, repeating all these names back over my car's speakers, in various stages of, "I sound stupid." Like this: (Loudly) AUNT LOUISE. (quietly and slowly) middle. sister. work. Another reason to hate this feature is that there is no order to the names except the order I chose to enter them (which was the order I could recall their numbers from memory). If the list ever is more than 10 names long, it would be unendurable. As it is, I have my old work voicemail from 2 years ago programmed into the car twice. Apparently the car can't tell if I use the same name twice, and I certainly can't figure out how to delete any of the entries. Trust me, a lot of those numbers are out of date now.

Once again, I ended up dialing manually, which defeats the entire purpose. Finally, when I do manage to connect, no one wants to talk to me because I sound like I'm in a tunnel and the time lag is annoying. (Double this when my mom calls me from her car with Bluetooth on my car with Bluetooth. I think space communications with the Shuttle takes less time. Or at least they anticipate the delay and work with it.)

So, what do you think? Have I given this the old college try, and am I justified in ripping out the dang thing and throwing it into the Anacostia River my next trip across the bridge? Oh ... but then I will be in DC and I will have to use my speaker phone on the cellphone if I don't want to break the law. Hmmm.


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