I had a technology mishap at a meeting a couple of weeks ago. It was the culmination of an unfortunate series of coincidences, like the reverse of stars aligning (black holes aligning? Do black holes align? Maybe consecutive black holes just, I don't know, suck each other in, or something): it started when my tech guys dropped by, at my request, to show me some potential apps for my students for the new iPad my district had bought me. One of them was so eager to show me everything that it might do that he insisted on turning on voice activation. I didn't pay much attention, taught my last class, then rushed out the door to get to a meeting across town. I slipped into my meeting twenty minutes or so late and slunk to the back of the room and thought, "Hey, I'll take notes on my new iPad!" That seemed like a good idea until somehow, while my boss was mid-sentence, I accidentally clicked on my notes and activated voice recognition on the word "ESOL". And unfortunately, the pronunciation of my iPad sounded EXACTLY like something else--a bodily orifice, or something you call someone you think is a jerk. So my iPad was belting this out (I forgot to mention that tech guy had also thought it would be a good idea to turn my volume all the way up), and everyone turned and stared at me. So of course I shut it off and quietly schlepped it to the side and wanted to crawl into a tiny hole. It was a feeling that I hadn't felt in many years, but immediately recognized--the "I am so humiliated that I the only way I can survive this is to pretend I have no idea it happened" feeling that hearkens back to seventh grade. We all sat there stunned while my boss said something like, "Debby's iPad is freaking out back there!" Once we broke into groups, I overcame my mortification for long enough to stop everyone and try to explain. They all seemed to find it amusing (one woman: "You know what that sounded like, right?"), but I had burning cheeks for the rest of the meeting.
The moment only continued when someone reminded everyone about an upcoming summer institute where we could present, saying, "Debby did databases last year," to which another colleague added, "hm, Debby does databases?" I thought it wise not to remind everyone that I was going to Dallas the following week for the TESOL Convention. Sheesh. Glad that day is over.