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The Confession

Hello, my name is Quilldancer and I am an idiot. I have been an idiot all my life, but am usually able to bluff my way through most things and convince people otherwise. Unfortunately this morning events conspired against me. I finally came up against something that I could not bluff my way through.

It all started two months ago when I bought my new cell phone. The service rep handed it to me turned on and ready to go. In all the time I have had it, I have never turned it off. Well, last evening I grabbed it to make a call and discovered the battery had gone dead. I plugged it in to recharge and made my call on a land line.

This morning I tried to turn my phone on. None of the buttons I poked seemed to have the desired effect. I went to get the instruction book. The first page of the instruction book reads: First turn your phone on. Duh. How? That it doesn’t say.

Lovely. I realized immediately that that could only mean one thing: I was the only person in the entire world who didn’t know how to operate my cell phone.

I went to church and walked up to a lovely 15 year-old friend of mine. “Hey, Nic,” I said. “Turn my phone on, and then tell me how you did it.” She looked at me with that smirk that only 15 year-old female faces can form, and took my phone. She pressed her finger down on a button I had already pushed.

Ha! I knew that one wouldn’t work. “Already tried that,” I said as I smirked back at her and reached for my phone. Keeping her finger on the button, she evaded my reach. I heard the phone sound a lovely little chime. The view screens lit up.

“I’d already tried that one,” I repeated lamely. Nic thrust the phone at me, rolled her eyes, turned to her little sister and said, “Grown-ups are so impatient.”

I went to my favorite pew and sat down next to my 78 year-old friend, Irene. “Nic is making fun of me just because I didn’t know how to turn my cell phone on,” I said, knowing this sweet, ancient little-old-lady would have no idea either. Irene laughed. “Just hold down the hang-up button for 15 seconds,” she said. “That’s how you turn it on and off.”

That’s how my status as an idiot became offical. Little old ladies have more technological skills than I.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. I have an aunt that is the wisest woman I know… But I still have to show her how to check her voicemail each time I see her. You are not an idiot either, just technologically challenged! I’m glad you don’t have any trouble figuring out how to blog though…

  2. Don’t you love technology. I sometimes miss the good old days without all the new technology. But then if we were still where we were even 15 years ago, there would be no blogs no internet and we wouldn’t be communicating now.

    When I started to read your post today and you said you never turned you cellphone off I thought you were going to say you got this statement from your cellphone company charging you all this money for having your cellphone on all the time.


    Have a Blessed Day.

    PS I got my Globe posted.

  3. Just this morning I could not figure out how to get the picture on the tv….got the sound but the video was wrong, stuck on the x-box. I pressed all the buttons and nothing seemed to work….errrrghhhhh!!!!

    I have a college degree and cannot figure it out. HUbby finally told me but I thought I had already tried it…..oh well….

  4. Quilly-Sister, by your definition, that would mean I’m an idiot…and of course, I’m not. I just prefer not to keep trivial information in my mind – I save all the storage room for important things. After all, I can always find a random 15 year old to ask technical questions of – they LOVE to show adults up! xoxoxo

  5. Jackie: Great minds think alike. I assume an air of condecension when it comes to these things. It is not that I can’t do them, it’s that these things are beneath my notice. That is what children and peons are for; D


    I feel for you sistah! I went through the same thing when I first got my Nokia (which has the on button at the topmost edge and had me searching for that for a while)… on this phone you need to hold down the button for a while and then let go or else it won’t turn on if you don’t do the letting go and how was I supposed to know???

    I sat on the steps, like a freak, for AGES until i got it to turn on… but then I had quite the bit of fun watching Loverboy live through the same thing! Ha, ha, ha, haaaa!

  7. Quilldancer,

    I too am an idiot! But every once in a while, there is still a need for someone of our lacking technical aptitude to do a task….like uh, reading for example. All hope is not lost on us yet.

  8. I’m a cell phone idot as well. All I can do is make a call or receive a call. There is like a thousand other things that it can do, including my taxes, but I can do two of them. Answer and call. My kids love to make fun of me about it because I teach computer technology at a college. Just not phone technology.

    As for your old lady story. When I first arrived to Seattle just out of college in a little cow town in Oregon, I was on the bus downtown and the bus driver was a big, black man. At one point he grabbed the mike and said “Lass tah pinna fee rye zo!” I looked at this little, old white lady next to me and said “what did he say?” She answered matter of factly, “he said, last stop in the free ride zone.” oh.

  9. 15 seconds??? I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think buying a cellphone from the former Soviet Union via the Internet was such a wise idea! Does it have a rotary dial too?


  10. Huh… imagine that! I’m still trying to figure out how you went that long without EVER turning it off! LOL! But… if it makes you feel any better, Lazy Daisy and I were just discussing tonight how we know it’s FACT that MY family was the last family on the PLANET to GET cell phones! We’re very famous now….

  11. That’s funny, Quilly. I have one for you if it makes you feel any better. Last spring I went on vacation and borrowed my brother’s ipod. I had to learn from the teen boy across the aisle on the plane that you have to swirl the pad in a circle to operate it. Who knew!

  12. ….and….

    Congratulations, Quilly! With this post, you are The Brawl’s new Reigning WPW Inspirational Blogger!

  13. That was funny and well-told. It seems to me a woman who is expert with words and incapable with a phone is as near perfect as heaven allows.

  14. Ha Ha Ha!!!
    I did the same thing with my new Razor when I got it in April.
    I mean really, how much sense does it make to push and hold the OFF button to turn ON your phone?!?!

    You and I are merely too smart for our own good my dear.

  15. Oh heaven’s. You’re smart as they come. You’re just the sort of person who doesn’t care for technology and so you don’t pay it no mind.

    I was supposed to be a financial journalist and I still don’t know what a put or call option is. And I don’t care.

  16. Jenn, a put option bestows the purchaser with the right to sell something on a future date at a certain price. A call bestows the right to purchase. Both are typically used to limit risk from price fluctuations.

    I know you don’t care but my degree in economics gets so very little use, indulge me. Want to hear about butterfly spreads?

  17. Now you know how our folks felt about us. 15 year old girls spend more time on the cell phone than they do in school. They cannot IMAGINE anyone not knowing how to use one! Ask her if she can bake a cake (or anything for that matter) without using a micro-wave! My guess is you’ll be HOLDING the button down for her then! ~ jb///

  18. Well at least you were in a place where you could pray after you muttered an expletive. That’s helpful. I wish that I could say I did not see myself in this post but alas, a lass figures my phone out for me also – my 8 year old daughter.

    Look at the bright side – you were an inspiration.

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