'Are you smarter than an iPhone?'

In this day and age, to be in the middle of life doesn't automatically qualify you for the technology dunciad, but I feel close to this distinction from time to time.

Everyone has his or her own relationship with technology. Before my stepfather died in his mid-70s, he had grown fairly comfortable with the PC one of his sons built for him. My mother, on the other hand, could not navigate her way through a simple desktop solitaire game.

I once received an email from her - the only one ever - that said, "This is mom. If you got this, it is a miracle."

That older people are getting more and more comfortable with computers and technology is easily evidenced by the number of requests I receive to play games with names like Jewelry Thief Smash and Pigs Jumping Over Pickle Barrels on a daily basis via Facebook.

But I'm not judging. I have no right to judge.

To deal with more than one remote control at a time is way too much to ask of me. I house-sat for some friends for a week last summer and I must have looked wrong at one of the three remotes on their coffee table, because from the second day of my stay onward, I could not watch TV in the living room.

When trying to program my universal remote - so that I could reduce my frustration with the TV and DVD player at least by half - I grew so frustrated and agitated that anyone passing by my apartment might have thought I was watching a loop of clips from the movie Scarface called "Tony Montana and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

Despite this, I still felt pretty smug with my standing in the tech universe.

Until I got an iPhone.

I used a "smart" phone for a while, but downgraded back to a "dumb phone." For years I was content to call people, receive calls from people and do some texting back and forth. Unfortunately, the battery in my dumb phone was exhausted and when it finally decided to stop holding a charge for more than 15 minutes at a time, I knew it was time to upgrade.

Non-smart phones have become so little used that my choice of a regular cell phone was limited to two or three models, none of which I would have liked as much as the one shuffling off its mortal coil a little more frantically every day.

Sprint offered me a free iPhone 4S as an upgrade option, so I got one. Oh, boy!

Not too familiar with apps, I perused the iPhone store for things I could actually use for the betterment of my daily life. Naturally, this led me to search for apps to aid me with meditation. God knows I need all the help available in the known universe.

The first app I downloaded was so complicated and hard to navigate that I think it undid any bit of good meditation had done for me up to that point. I deleted it without saying "Namaste."

After the meditation app debacle, I was ready to kick it up a notch and decided that I should transfer some music to my phone. I like to walk, and why carry around my phone and an iPod while strolling around Glenville?

I plugged my iPhone into the USB port of my computer without a thought and when I unplugged my phone following the music transfer, I found out I had set the phone back to its factory specifications.

All my contacts were gone. All the apps I had downloaded were gone.

My phone was still smart. I had proved myself to be otherwise.

On the bright side, it was like I had a brand new iPhone - and less than a week after I'd gotten the other one.

I know there are so many wonderful and useful things I can do with my iPhone, but I can't explain how excited I am to see what new things I will do to my iPhone.