Has it happened to you too? When you need technology the most, when you rely on it the most to function as it should and help you effectively and efficiently perform all the tasks in your busy and hectic life, what happens – nothing happens!
You press the print icon, but the printer doesn’t print. You double-click on the icon for your word processing program, but no window opens. You refresh your e-mail inbox, but there are no new messages.
Little do we really know how our computers work and the nature of the problems they suffer from. When the printer doesn’t print, the source of the problem may be completely different or definitely the same as the lack of new e-mails, it all depends.
Who has time to find out? How we long to hear that familiar sound the printer makes when it pulls the paper! How we anticipate the word processor to give us a pure white window so we can start hitting the keys! And how we long for the e-mail to announce that there are new unread messages!
You despair when you miss these signs of peace, the ones that show you that your life is in order, the ones that reassure you that you can move on, that there is nothing to worry about. You start to think the worst: something happened to your Internet connection. “Where’s my phone,” you ask yourself and frantically turn your head from left to right trying to spot the savior. Anyway, the phone, can’t do anything!
You immediately feel a great weight fall off your shoulders because you see notifications on social networking apps telling you there are new things to look at. Yes, there is the Internet. Someone has posted something you might be interested in. It looks like someone is thinking about you. Yes, it looks like that and it comforts you, you love that instant gratification that makes you feel good, really good. But what was it that you were going to do?
For a moment, you forget why you were reaching for the phone and you feel the dread emerge again. Here you go again! This time it’s almost a panic attack because you haven’t really recovered from the first scare, that original reason you grabbed the phone. Do you remember? What was it? No idea, then I realize that my wonderful phone has barely 15% battery life left.
What? Something’s wrong. How did the battery drain so fast? Does this have something to do with computer problems? Surely not, because the notifications in the social networking apps are new. But, come to think of it, it’s been a while since WhatsApp messages have been ringing.
Did you know that originally, the English phrase “What’s up?” means many things? It can be how are you, what are you doing, or what’s up? Therefore, the person who answers is the one who decides, when formulating his answer, what he wants to communicate. Both “What’s up?” and “WhatsApp” is an invitation to connect with the questioner. But in the end, you will decide. Because not answering is always an option.
Moreover, I’m sure you are one of the people who answer almost all WhatsApp messages. And the thing is that when you live far from your homeland, this application that is installed for free on your phone and has the funny name of “uassap”, becomes a real lifeline. It keeps you firmly connected with the piece of land where you were born, with your loved ones, with the events and experiences of your country and your family or friends. Come to think of it, WhatsApp messages still don’t ring.
With my former schoolmates, I have a WhatsApp group that sometimes spends many days in silence and suddenly communicates absurd but very funny things. I usually don’t expect it to be this group that makes me notice that WhatsApp messages don’t ring. With my exchange family in Germany, I have a group that sometimes spends many days in silence and suddenly communicates things from a very different perspective but that makes me remember them very fondly.
I usually don’t expect it to be this group that makes me notice that WhatsApp messages don’t ring. With my Tico friends and my German friends, I have respectively a group that sometimes spends many days in silence and suddenly communicates new adventures of the children, big and small. I don’t usually expect this group to tell me that my WhatsApp messages haven’t rung for a long time. What could it be that WhatsApp messages don’t ring?
What? I think I hear the printer. Yes! At last, my computer has recovered! A reboot works wonders. The word processor is also working and there are new emails in the inbox. The phone is happily plugged into its charger and notifications from social networking apps have gone up. Life’s rosy – almost! Why aren’t WhatsApp messages ringing?
I look at my phone. I look at the clocks on the wall that are only a few months old hanging there. It’s Friday, it’s five o’clock in the afternoon in Seattle. The worst feeling of helplessness and emptiness comes over me. Now I understand.
For my firstborn, almost two thousand miles away, it’s seven o’clock at night. That’s what the clock on the wall says. Has he returned home? The WhatsApp messages don’t ring. And for “mi Chiquita”, nine-time zones also to the east, it is two o’clock in the morning. That’s what the clock on the wall bearing her name says. Was the exam difficult? Is she asleep? The WhatsApp messages don’t come through!