“It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.” ~ Clive James ~
Yes, I told you about the computer I lost over a year ago, but I’ve had several since then. And I try not to remember the good old days, because whether I like it or not, today I need a computer. I will never understand a computer, but I’m learning how to protect myself from its devious ways to torture me. And perhaps my experience can help you too when your computer throws a tantrum at you.
That computer suddenly gave me a blank page, and the hard drive roared like a storm raging through a tunnel. At first I was patient, but after the 3rd time of this, I had enough. So with a few choice words, I projected my frustration onto that machine. And in malicious retaliation it bellied up and died. Stone dead. I may be semi computer illiterate, but I did nothing to antagonize that monster.
Some people develop good person-machine relationships. But some find machines daunting mysteries that have an ability to drive you up a wall. The closest I ever came to any machine proficiency was when my old Chevy died at red lights. Someone taught me to lift the hood, reconnect 2 wires, close the hood, jump back in and go, and ignore my children yelling and other drivers honking at me.
I’m pretty good at a lot of things, but computer stuff isn’t one of them. Years ago when I was a bar waitress on an Air Force Base, I knew how to deal with guys who had too much to drink. There’s a method to that, and I learned quickly. When I lived in Las Vegas, I went to the desert and learned to shoot a gun. I was pretty good at it, but the gun scared me, so I got rid of it. Then when I worked in a jail as a Mental Health Counselor, a violent schizophrenic was no problem for me. The officers called me to handle those situations. And I’m only 5ft 1in tall. I also remember a time I was alone in a London, England airport, and I couldn’t figure out how to get my huge suitcases from the first floor to the second floor to change planes. You’d think the airline would have done that for me. I felt pretty stupid, but I finally figured that one out. There are carts to do that. Duh.
In my later years, I actually wrote a book, Silent Echoes. It’s a memoir, but it has lots of adventures in it. I reveal some of my stupid escapades, but I had sense enough to survive. Then I wrote Me And Granmama In The Hill Country, and now I’m writing about the years I worked in the jail.
So why is a computer such a mystery to me? I understand what makes people tick, and they fascinate me. But the computer is like a giant stranger hovering over me, chiding me, because I don’t understand that piece of solid mass with a mind of its own.
I missed my old computer after it was gone, and I was kind enough to give it a proper burial. Then a very kind friend, who understands my ignorance, got me a new one. He called it an upgrade, and he spent 2 hours instructing me on how to work with it. Now I realize that if that computer and I are to have a future together, I’ll have to make some concessions, because that computer ego will never give an inch. So I will practice patience, and only in extreme anger will I reveal that other models are available. I also have good contact with my friend who is willing to come to my rescue, and will treat my computer with utmost care.
I wish you many happy days with your computer. And don’t forget to treat it kindly.
It’s hard to live a full life today without it. . . . .
Marilyn Fowler, Author