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Doing The Poka-Polka

December 11, 2015

In my infallible wisdom, I decided to take our tablets to Italy again this year instead of our laptop. Big mistake.

Every year we head to Italy hoping to sell our house there. We usually spend three to four months on terra inferma before returning to the United States. A couple of years ago, I decided that porting the laptop had become too burdensome. Even the lightest model is heavy when you are constantly changing airports, trains, etc. In addition, airport security personnel tend to think that a laptop is volleyball to be heaved about and generally messed with.

Tablets are much lighter and do not endure the same scrutiny as their larger brothers. And so I thought we were set. We arrived in Italy two years ago, tablets in hand, to find that they required learning several new skills including the Poka-Polka.

A stylus was obviously made for a younger person, perhaps with petite hands. I tried “thumbing” at first only to find that indeed my fingers and thumbs were too large. I graduated to the stylus figuring I could at least hit the broad side of a barn. Several pokes at the barn landed me in the pasture, which is not good enough in today’s world of mobile mania! I also found that I needed to poke everything two or three times and even then the errors were enormous.

I should mention at this juncture that I am a writer who typically types in the excess of 125 words a minute. Poking out a document even as small as this blog entry seems like an undue prison sentence for a person who has been writing professionally for over 55 years. Even though I have learned the Poka-Pola pretty well, I am still a frustrated at the snail speed at which I type and the typographical errors that are too numerous to cite.

The first layer of frustration was added upon by the fact that our internet connection in Italy is a “chiavetta,” a USB SIM card device that is as good as it gets on top of a mountain in the third world. When I am attempting to answer an email or write a comment on a forum, the damned little Android keyboard keeps vanishing as if to taunt me. This is because the radio signal that powers our little internet POS wobbles about and leaves us without a signal every now and then, killing the keyboard mid-stroke.

The second year, I got clever by bringing a small keyboard that attaches to the tablet…. or so I thought. Due to only one USB port, it turns out that I can have either the keyboard or the internet, not both. Not handy! Even with the keyboard, it’s still Poka-Polka. The thing is so small that I often double strike the keys or type a line of complete gibberish. I think the guy that invented this was a Munchkin from the land of Oz. What to do?

Not being one to ever give up completely, I now continue to do the Poka-Polka when writing my emails. They are very brief, ploddingly poked out, and never spelled entirely correctly. For longer pieces such as this blog entry, I switch to the mini micro Munchkin keyboard and whirl away at a top speed to equal the approaching equinox. I then use the only fabulous tool I have found on tablets, the “copy and paste.” Success, even in small measure, does eventually come with a ton of frustrating effort. (I just had to remove the two extra Fs in the word “effort.”)

Now, before any of you leap up and say, “What about voice typing?”, don’t even go there! I tried this nifty little Android feature as well with zero success. It’s like listening to ATT repeating your own phone number that you just spoke. “Now, before any of you leap up….” would certainly appear in text as “Cow, beef and if Lou lap up…..” As a wise old gentlemen once told me in my youth, “It ain’t worth screwing with!”

So, here I sit in Italy doing the Poka-Polka once again to the tune of “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.” If I told you how long it took me to write these words of wit, you would surely laugh your ass off. Mum’s the word but I do hope you enjoyed thissssss….

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Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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