Getting Older (and manually removing hair)

Beneath the Floor - March 2021
Wallpaper forest

Lately I’m starting to feel old. Friends are having babies. We’re getting quotes for windows. This week, me and my wife were on a walk through the street and both said without a hint of irony “that’s a nice door…”. Perhaps most crippling of all, I’m starting to become an old fart with technology. I easily get grumpy when things don’t work like they used to “in the good ol’ days”.

After a recent confrontation between my phone and the kitchen floor, my old samsung was considering retirement. It was losing its hearing (headphone jack didn’t work). It decided it only wanted to work part-time. The screen resembled the Black Mirror intro. The display would enthusiastically decide to become a rainbow of vivid and eye-stinging colours. Fortunately, my former pocket-partner was at the end of our legal contract anyway, so it wasn’t long before I could get a new (actually functioning) phone. I’ve found a neat trick with phones is that if you avoid this year’s ‘top of the range’, and go for last year’s ‘top of the range’, you save a lot of money.

For the most part, my new phone is exactly the same. But there’s a few changes I like, and a few I don’t. Like - it unlocks with my fingerprint instead of my eyeballs. Gone are the days where I have to stare unblinkingly down at my camera, like a wide-eyed lunatic in the middle of the street. Dislike - I cannot for the life of me do certain ‘easy access gestures’. Give me a back button any day of the week.

But today I came up against the most frustrating road block so far - a complete inability to resize photos. We get it. Phone cameras are fantastic now. We can have crystal clear, million-pixel quality photos at the click of a button. But let’s be honest, do I really need that for the type of photos I’m taking day to day? (If you witnessed my photographic ability, you would know the answer is a very loud NO.)

Part of my day job includes taking photos on site. Progress. Before. After. Defects. And all I want to do once I’ve taken my twenty or so photos is send them to my work computer. These photos do not need to be 10mb. They don’t even need to be 1mb. If I can’t resize them, that means the most I can email at once is…. two. A grand total of two. Behold the wonders of the modern age!

So, like everything I have a problem with, I google the answer. This resolves 95% of my problems in life. But it doesn’t work. All the advice is out of date. Things have moved on since the bygone era of 2018. I can make back-ups, it suggests. Sync to the cloud! That will let me resize the photos from ‘original quality’, all the way down to… ‘high quality’. Those are my two options. But apparently ‘high quality’ is the lowest option, so I back-up all my photos on google. I’m momentarily impressed. I can access them all from my work computer. Perfect! Now I just need to download the ones I need, so I can email specific photos to clients and…

THE FILE SIZE IS LARGER. How did it get larger?? They’re in a zip file!

“Fine!” I snap, stabbing the delete button and getting creative. There must be an app or something.

Oh there is. There’s thousands of them. Each looking dodgier and scammier than the last. I pick the top rated one. It sucks. Pop-up adverts assault me, but I shake them off. Pick the photos for compression. But it only lets me do ten at a time.

Well… that’s better than doing each one individually on MS Paint like it’s 1999 and nobody is invited. So I try it, aaaand… it doesn’t work. I try to click ‘options’, it links me to another product. I try to click ‘help’, it links me to another product. I click all the symbols that I have no idea what they mean. Each one is an advert. I try again. Fail. Uninstall.

Google, save me. “Best apps for reducing photo size.”

Accept cookies. No.

Join our newsletter. No.

Advert. Pop-up. Notifications. No!!

Jesus Christ, I just want to have a photo that isn’t the size of the bloody moon. Why is this so difficult? For a moment, I wonder if this is it. Maybe this is just my life now. Forced into sending photos two at a time, like the Noah’s arc of construction photos. Truly desperate, I ask my team of mostly older gentlemen. When I get “Have you tried doing them one at a time on MS Paint?” I realise urgent action is needed. I REFUSE to go out like this.

I remember the days when I knew what to do when computers broke, or froze. When things followed logic, and you had actual WORDS instead of hieroglyphics, hidden gestures and prayer. In that moment, actually catching myself tugging at my hair, reduced to a near breakdown based on file compression, I realised I had become an old man. Out of touch. No longer my time.

Just as I was about to give up hope, just as I was about to open MS Paint, I tried another app. And. It. Did. Exactly. What. I. Wanted.

A miracle! I quickly sent my twenty photos in a single email, and my ordeal was over. I was so happy I even left a review. On a photo compression app. I guess I am an old man after all.

Personally, I blame Steve Jobs. Not everything has to be an icon, STEVE. I happen to quite like words.

Maybe it’s just a natural part of getting older. Like everyone around you having babies, or spending far too much money on new windows, or writing a raving blog post when something doesn’t go your way.

Now get off my lawn.


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Floor Fifty-Four, 2021