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COMMUNITY VOICE

Tech question of the day: Are you smarter than a refrigerator door?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 12:01 am

The question of the day at my house is, “Are you smarter than a refrigerator door?”

Forget the fifth-grader bit; I am intimidated by the pending arrival of a new refrigerator whose door, I’m afraid, is smarter than I am.

Our current refrigerator took a dive this past weekend, and a new one will be delivered any moment. Choosing its replacement was a major decision. It used to be simple to buy a new refrigerator: Off-white or white? Ice maker or not? What size? I’ll take that one. Thank you. Goodbye. But not this time.

Refrigerators now come in black, brushed aluminum and white. Off-white no longer is offered unless maybe you go to a used refrigerator store and find one from the 1960s.

Then, of course, do you want a side-by-side? Freezer on top or on bottom? Twenty-three cubic feet? Twenty-six cubic feet? Twenty-nine cubic feet? Thirty-two cubic feet? Handle on the left? On the right? What color handle? Shelves here or there? Water in the door or not?

Well, you know the drill. I was so overwhelmed by the choices and the fact that whichever one I chose would probably live longer than me that I finally pointed to one and fled the store. However, before I could escape completely, the patient clerk began to show me how to use the water dispenser on the door. It wasn’t just simply move a lever from ice to crushed ice to water.

Oh, no; this door has an electronically controlled device that lets you lock the gizmo, choose the amount of water you want, the type of ice you want, light you want and the socks you will wear the next day. Furthermore, at any moment now, the door bell is supposed to ring, and into my house will come this new intruder, smart door and all.

I am having enough trouble telling my cellphone from my camera. My cellphone not only calls people, texts people and can Google anything, but it also takes pictures. Now, I always carry my camera with me in my purse, so when I go to make a call, I’m not sure whether to use my camera or phone. Then, when I’m at home, my portable phones look very similar to my television remote controls, so I often try to change channels with my phone.

Do you know how silly you feel when you discover yourself pointing your phone at Dianne Sawyer and clicking away?

Electronics are ruining our civilization. People sit by you in a restaurant, loudly chatting away on the phone, and there is no way you can avoid hearing their conversation. I want to say, “What makes you think I want to hear about your brainless husband who stayed out all night drinking?”

Recently, while waiting at the airport, I was trying to read, surrounded by two thoughtless people who were talking loudly on their phones. I wondered what would happen if I began to read my book aloud? Someday, I swear, I am going to do that.

Even my new doorbell has a step up on technology; it came with six pages of instructions and a choice of about 25 songs or sounds it will play. My neighbor’s doorbell currently plays the “Hallelujah” chorus, but at Christmas they change it to “O Tannenbaum.”

After much discussion and head-scratching, we set our doorbell to play “The William Tell Overture,” and, believe me, that will be very appropriate when the deliveryman comes to announce the arrival of the new refrigerator and its door.

That overture, of course, announced the thundering hoofbeats of the Lone

Ranger’s horse years ago on the radio as the masked man bravely invaded the territory of the bad guys. Our doorbell overture will announce the arrival of other hoofbeats: the hoofbeats of my heart as it faces the masked electronic stranger invading my territory.

Where is Tonto when I need him?

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a resident of Fort Wayne.