Friday, September 16, 2016

MizB Tries To Be Cooperatively Digital

I’m trying to be calmer about and less resistant to today’s digital reality, I really am, but they’re… you’re… something is making it very difficult – harder than ever – and it’s everywhere. On a nearly daily basis, I’m confronted with a broadband? marriage of classic bureaucratic stupidity and corporate hubris with whiz-bang digital magic that might either drive me to an early grave (in a driverless car, of course) or a public act of impropriety or violence – like running over an inattentive, phone-focused yuppie with my mobility scooter, then backing up and running over him again. Perhaps repeatedly, until the implants pop out of his head. I’m being pushed to my limits here.

For example, I went to the doctor yesterday, my “Primary Care Physician,” formerly known as “the doctor.” He’s been my doctor since 1992. But I can no longer call him. I also can’t phone his longtime assistant, or anyone on my “care team” in this group practice. I don’t know the members of my care team – and believe me, I’ve asked. I’ve never been given a sensible, comprehensible answer to this question, even though there’s a photo on the website of a whole team of healthy-, professional-, caring-looking people. I think my “team” may be a stock photo of “food insecure” actors, but then again, I’m hostile and paranoid, so…

Anyway, when I call my doctor’s office, I get a recorded instruction to go to the practice’s website, then the recording hangs up. I don’t take it personally; I assume it hangs up on everyone who calls. When you go to the website, there’s a place where you can make an appointment (this works) and another where you can see your medical history (this doesn’t). I went there. There’s nothing there. When I asked about this at my doctor’s office, they…explained…that there were three separate somethings-or-other they use that contain the records. But none of them are on the site. I have no access to my history. I asked if my hospital-of-record could access these records. I got a long answer that I can’t really recall, but I think it amounted to “No.” Just for the hell of it, I asked what my blood type is. It isn’t in my medical records in any of the three systems I don’t have access to. I mentioned that I was 64 and would kinda like to know what my blood type is. No reply.

I used to love email. Email has become a misery. Besides being presented with a brand new menu of action icons that I don’t comprehend, I keep getting messages from people, places and things I don’t know. They tell me I can unsubscribe. I unsubscribe. The messages keep coming anyway. I get other messages from official entities that tell me I can’t reply. I wouldn’t mind per se, but, just as another example: since the end of August I’ve been getting the same “donotreply” message from a city agency telling me they can’t do something I already told them (in writing) I no longer want them to do, until I submit certain information by September 1st – at 15:41:25. I love the :25. We don’t just get deadline dates for things now, but deadline times – to the second. Which in this case is both irritating and hilarious when you consider that today is September 16th and I’m still getting the same automatically generated email that I can’t reply to with an information-demand deadline of September 1st. FYI, earlier in the week I called this agency to explain the situation. They wouldn’t address the email part, they just told me to write a letter about what I’m not asking for. I told them I had written a letter. They told me to write a letter. I did not reply.

Also in August, I decided to try the music site Spotify and signed up for their 30-day FREE TRIAL of Premium service, “Premium” meaning that if after the free trial I pay them ten bucks a month, they won’t torment me with visible and/or audible ads when all I want to do is listen to a song. Okay. They asked for my payment information. This should have tipped me off and stopped me in my analog tracks, but I’m trying to join the fucking future that is happening now, so I provided the info. Then I went on the site. A message box came up saying my computer isn’t equipped to handle the site, and indeed, when I tried to (a) figure out how to use the site then (b) use the site, I couldn’t. So I contacted Spotify that very same day to cancel the free trial and close my account. I explained why. Within several days, I started getting emails with Tips on How to Use Spotify. I contacted them again. They had canceled my free trial but not my account. I replied. I said close the account. They replied. They sent a series of emails asking for different details I’d provided when I gave them my payment information for the free trial. They have sent me follow-up emails congratulating me on providing the accurate details they need to close my account, which is just a “click away” from being closed, but they haven’t clicked yet. If they ask for my blood type, I’m screwed.

I’m also screwed if I want to use the new same-day-delivery service being offered by my next-day-or-later delivery online supermarket. There’s an app I can download –  however, as I learned when I called them (and they replied), the app can only be downloaded to the smart-phone I don’t have, it can’t work on the old desktop computer I use to successfully place orders for their over-priced food. I suggested they fix that since those of us with older equipment would like the option of same-day delivery too. There was no reply.

So, to recap: we can send out some messages, sometimes, but we may or may not get a reply. We can get messages, but we’re often not allowed to reply. If we ask to unsubscribe, the senders may or may not comply, it’s their call and there’s not much we can do about it. If we open an account and then want to close it, we have to take a quiz. If we have a medical history, nobody really knows where it is, and if they do know, we’re not allowed to know too: not where it is or what it is. We also don’t need to know our own blood type. If there’s a medical emergency and we’re taken to whatever hospital the ambulance our health insurance/Medicare won’t pay for feels like taking us to, our blood will be tested and they’ll know the type in a minute. A minute :25.

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