Monday, September 13, 2010

Radiation Head

I have always had dreadful luck when it comes to electronic devices. It started when I was a child and I accidentally put my foot through a Christmas gift that turned out to be a stuffed animal with a radio in its tummy. Come to think of it, even prior to that debacle, I may have been responsible for killing at least two needles on my father’s record player.

The Ford Contour The Ex and I owned when we arrived in the Midwest had a problem with its Check Engine Light. The problem was that whenever I was in the car, it wanted to come out to play and would only go back to sleep if we paid a small fortune to the local Ford dealership who kept telling us nothing was wrong. According to their fancy diagnostic machines, the fact the light only came on when I was driving was simply a coincidence. The fools.

During that same period of time, this curse came to be known as Radiation Head because no matter what phone I was on or where I stood, any call I made on a cell phone always dropped. This was especially embarrassing as I worked for a large cell phone company at the time.

I used to hypothesize that I had a giant electromagnetic field surrounding me that caused so many gadgets to malfunction in my presence. Little did I know that my curse was only waiting for a perfect storm called New Zealand to truly demonstrate its true malevolence and power.

Within weeks of arriving in Auckland, my computer had a heart attack… Or maybe that was me… One night, while I was busy deleting writing I deemed unfit to be posted, BigMac (my Mac) decided to join the separate vacation my Muse had taken from me and gave me the blue screen of death. “Macs don’t get the blue screen of death!” I sobbed.

What followed was a week and a half of me having a series of nervous breakdowns in a variety of Apple stores throughout Auckland while the Mac Geeks explained that my charger was fried and it would take several days to order, ship, and receive from the States. (Don’t ask me why I couldn’t have one from their stock, as this question was never answered to my satisfaction.) I’m sure it’s a coincidence but that week also coincided with the purchase of my first bottle of vodka since arriving in New Zealand.

A month later, the battery on my camera died. Okay, this one may have been my fault, but since my backup battery was also inexplicably dead at the very moment I needed drunken photos, I will chalk it up as another win for Radiation Head.

The electronic doomsday tale that has been my time in New Zealand came to a head my last week in Auckland when, at the worst possible moment when the mic on my phone died. According to the calendar, my phone was a year and a day old - an age the good folks at Nokia explained to me meant it was no longer under warrantee. Several heart palpations later, I had a rather pricey new headset that would save me from jumping off the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

A week later the whole thing up and died.

No matter what outlet I plugged it into, or how loudly I wailed at the Electronic Gods, my year old phone would not charge. Its lovely screen stayed dark and it refused to sing to me about Defying Gravity. This time I knew there was no quick fix in the offing – I was officially and utterly screwed and there was no light at the end of this phoneless tunnel. I departed New Zealand with a heavy heart and a dead phone in my purse.

When I arrived in Sydney, I headed to the local mobile phone shop and told them that no matter how much I lusted after the new iPhone, I would like to purchase their cheapest unlocked handset. Ever the glutton for punishment optimist, I had them double-check my E75 just in case. Five minutes later, I heard a chorus of angels sing as the lovely girl behind the counter told me my phone was fine – I just needed to replace my fried charger.

Long story short (way, way too late): New Zealand brought my chronic Radiation Head to a whole new level of evil. All it took was one day in Australia and whatever power New Zealand held over my electronic tethers to sanity began to wane. I had a new charger and my old phone worked like a charm – even the microphone had somehow miraculously fixed itself. Given my history, I won’t jinx myself into thinking this is the end of the Radiation Head story, but I do hope that maybe this chapter is at an end and the next won’t start for a long, long, long time.

[image source]


Unknown said...

I totally emphasize with you as I've definitely got an extraordinary amount of electromagnetic fields (or whatever) in my body. Anything electronic never lasts as long with me as with anyone else. Since I don't want to wear one of those heavy lead aprons, I just buy things more often than most people.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Celica--or was it the other blue standard car--that had a light that only came on when I drove it.
Glad the phone mic is better!

Connie said...

Our check engine light has been on for about .. oh ... five years now. I don't worry too much. I do ok with most electronics, but watches cower in fear of me. Digital or wind-up. I am a watch killer. I drain batteries, make hands fall off... and if it doesn't happen simply by my wearing them, I'll make sure to put them through the washing machine or something. I have a nice Seiko that has lived many years now, as in, it has not been permanently killed... but the battery is dead... again...

Corinne said...

Dude, you are cursed. I can hold a conversation with my landlord while walking through the house, but you have a magic ability to kill any reception around the farm. I am slightly in awe. But your powers work only for evil, because they are expensive. Hmmm.

sprinkles said...

And I thought these kinds of things only happened to me!

Karen M. Peterson said...

I have a similar condition, tho mine seems to be directed only at automobiles and not at my small electronic crack fixes. Thankfully!