I attended a training at Google yesterday on 8th Avenue. A friendly someone escorted us past the motion sensitive entrance gates at security and down the hallway to the elevator, where we went up to the 10th floor. The building bustled with activity, but it didn’t feel like the working gears of the world’s biggest search engine. It just felt like an office building with interesting interior.
The training was a crash course in Google Apps for non-profits, so the little, charitable guys can make good use of the technology the big guys are using to maximize profits and percentages and growth. There were just a handful of us, maybe 20, spread out in the giant auditorium space on the engineering floor. Our questions revealed few of us to be tech-savvy and all of us to be interested in what Google offers to non-profit organizations for free.
The presenter spoke over and in between some pipe banging and construction that sounded like it was happening in the next room. And then the videos in her presentation would not play… and then she had to open up the presentation in another format, and a few slides later the same issue happened again, and then that ridiculous countdown message popped up in the lower right-hand corner telling her to reboot or else.
I felt horrible because I have stood in the same place, in front of students or families or colleagues, with a technology-dependent presentation. Being from non-profits and familiar with these kinds of re-routing scenarios, several attendees gave suggestions and computer advice to the woman from the Ad Sales Department at Google. She was gracious and we were gracious and we all got through the glitches with a fine understanding of what the Google Suite could offer our non-profit.
The irony of technology glitches inside Google is somehow comforting. Technology doesn’t work perfectly all the time for anybody, it doesn’t matter who you are. And people are people, in big buildings and little buildings, skyscrapers and crowded flats the world over.
Life’s got glitches and no one is exempt.
I guess I just feel a solidarity in the struggle. The little struggles, like technology glitche,s and the bigger existential struggles, like systemic glitches in humanity. We spend a lot of time getting rid of glitches, minimizing the struggle and minimizing discomfort but it never seems to be completely resolved. We can never get clean away from those things that remind us that this world is not completely in order.
I’ve probably leaped too far this morning, but I had to wrap this up before work and I leave in 3 minutes.