My idea of high technology, generally speaking, is a toaster. As everyone knows, it’s an inscrutably complex mechanism that requires pin-point adjustment and careful programming of that little dial on the bottom that determines how much you will burn the toast. Not to mention you also have to decide on and then implement your decision on which is the correct side to use when you’re only toasting one slice.

It takes a lot of technical skill, and that’s only with white bread. Don’t even ask me about the multi-grain re-boot.

So you will not be surprised when I explain how much difficulty I had on a recent vacation when I had to deal with the significantly greater technological complexities of trekking poles.

Trekking poles are poles that you use to go trekking. You call them trekking poles rather than, say, hiking sticks, mainly because it sounds better and people then presume you are wearing an expensive, high-tech, gluten-free Camelback backpack from the fancy outdoors store rather than your daughter’s fourth-grade book bag.

The trekking poles are generally designed to help you keep the beat as you sing hiking songs when you go hiking. (You do this as an alternative to moaning about how your feet hurt from hiking and to block out the sound of your partner complaining about how her feet hurt.) Unlike the songs, the poles are adjustable, which means you have to adjust them.

To adjust them, the guy in the store said, you just have to twist the “quick-twist locking mechanism” to open and then find the right length on telescoping section 1 and then the right length on telescoping section 2 and then the right length on telescoping section 3 and then you just twist the “quick-twist locking mechanism” in the direction of the arrow that says closed, for telescoping section 1 and then the same routine for telescoping section 2 and then for telescoping section 3 and by then it’s time for dinner and you don’t have to hike anymore.

After several days of practice and an online master’s program, I was able to adjust the trekking poles to the correct height, as long as I grew four and a half more inches. But I was satisfied and went out hiking and singing.

Then I stopped. Now all I had to do was un-adjust the trekking poles so I could fit them back into my suitcase for the flight home.

I twisted and un-twisted. The “quick-twist locking mechanism” didn’t react quickly. It also didn’t twist.

I scrunched the poles into the ground. I tried to see if they would bend and fit into my daughter’s fourth-grade book bag.

And then of course, I did what all similarly skilled techno-geeks would do: I gave up completely.

I brought the poles over to the nearest fancy outdoors store, the kind of place where they sell foldable camping stoves you can put on your key ring. The guy there fixed the poles in four seconds.

Next time we go hiking, I’m bringing a toaster.

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