The other day I remembered a promise to call someone and rushed to enter it into my calendar, my Google Calendar. In that moment I recognized I had handed my life over to Google.
It has happened a lot lately. I agreed to take part in a webinar with a respected colleague, Nancy Mace, who works with the fabulous Jennifer Brown Consulting. If not for the joy of working with the brilliant and free-spirited Nancy I would have said no to the technological challenges. But, after all, I have committed myself to proving you can work anywhere, anytime. When we discovered the clients WebEx system used phone call-in instead of VoIP I panicked because I would have to call in from the field. I have no landline so I hate to the use the phone for any quality conversation. TMobile Global has generously offered me free WiFi calls to anywhere, but they suck. Not sure if it’s my phone (an HTC Amaze which often fails to Amaze me) or the WiFi connection. Google Voice to the rescue. Free calls to the U.S.
We survived two webinars with Google Voice. Although it offers flawless voice quality once it disconnected me right before my segment, but Nancy covered flawlessly as I SKYPE messaged them about the disaster. (For some reason my Gmail continuously reloads and I have yet to find the cause. All tech tips are welcome.)
Google Voice has also allowed me to have the first clear conversation with my son, living in Humboldt County, California. Through Google Voice we have been able to talk about his progress toward becoming a baseball coach, race relations in America, since he is a tall Black man, and the challenges his generation has faced since the Great Recession.
Long before Google Voice I had been a devotee of Google Calendar. Now I am so grateful for my Google Calendar which allows me to enter events, select the applicable U.S. time zone, and then watch Google Calendar place them in the correct time zone for Central Europe. Without Google Calendar’s wisdom I am forced to count the time difference on my fingers. Which I often do when I read messages from friends asking “can we talk at noon pacific time?”
Google Calendar is not the only Google app embedded in my life. Google Hangouts is the lifeline between myself and my daughter, who is in an ashram in India studying yoga. I will be typing away online and a popup window will signal me with a “Hey Mom. Are you there?” We have worked through existential crisis and the review of her stock options agreements from her last startup company all thanks to Google Hangouts. I am happy to say that her Swami has taken over some of the burden on life changing decisions and for that I am grateful. Thank Goddess children don’t come with a warranty and demand exchanges for bad parenting. I would not want to exchange my children for anything and I am glad they are stuck with me.
I can’t mention Google without describing the role of YouTube in my life. When we bought our first TV here in the Czech Republic the one truly functioning feature was YouTube. Until we mastered the universe of VPN to snag US TV content we were beholden to YouTube to have even a moment of English content. Even after abandoning YouTube as our sole source of entertainment we found new and important uses.
All my yoga instructors are on YouTube. I have put twelve options on my Playlist depending on how confident I feel in the morning. I even discovered my trusty reliable 8 minute Abs instructor who helped me take off the pounds several years ago. The pounds are back and the discovery of my trusted video exercise coach was a welcome relief.
I am learning Czech thanks to YouTube. We watched the Oscars and the Emmy’s thanks to YouTube. We laugh at America thanks to John Oliver on YouTube and piss on Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart for only having two-minute clips. While working on my computer I expand my consciousness can meditate to Louise Hay, or Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer. Our new addiction is watching the View thanks to YouTube.
I think it is clear – I have given my life to Google. I do have concerns given the recent disclosure that 70% of Googlers are male. Will they know how to handle a woman like me? I can only hope they will cherish me and be gentle.