Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Nemesis

My Nemesis

Call me a “dinosaur”. Call me what you will. There’s something about a computer that doesn’t get along with me. I use them grudgingly. Once in great while I even love them. Most of the time it’s just an uneasy truce between me and that whirring, buzzing contraption at my feet. The only time I loved them consistently was when I was working in the Big City for the “Corporate World”. In the corporate world nothing is too good. You have to have the latest of everything. The fastest. The cutest. The most hip. And, most importantly, you have the IT guys when things go ka-flooey. Now that I live on a ranch all that is a wistful memory. I’m alone in my office with “the beast”. It’s “him” or me and usually the winner is “him”. I am forced to find ways to get along with “him”.

Part of the problem is that in the boondocks one cannot have cable or any kind of fast internet connection. One is forced to have a satellite connection. Just think about it. Your internet connection goes way out into outer space, looks around in vain for a teeny tiny blip in the cosmos called your provider’s satellite and if it’s lucky enough to find it then the signal has to be bounced all the way back down to terra firma and look around for whatever server you wanted it to go to. When you think about it this way you marvel at the miracle that it works at all. Who are these geeks who thought this up and engineered it? I grovel at their feet for their genius. Now if only their genius could figure out how to work out the bugs in the system I might actually worship them as the new messiah. In the meantime they’re just fallible human beings who are pretty darn smart and I am still the frustrated computer user I always was.

Recently I have concocted a system of Zen-like patience every time the computer locks up or is excruciatingly slow. Then I unplug it and start over or hit the restart button and wait. There’s no use getting mad and trying baseball therapy. Baseball therapy is smashing the computer into tiny fragments with a baseball bat. If I did that I’d still be in the same place I was before. Maybe I’d have a sense of satisfaction but it’d be clouded by the fact that now I’d have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a new one.

Yes, you can call me a dinosaur. I remember when telephones were party lines and you could listen in to your neighbor’s calls. I remember when getting information meant a trip to the library to wander the aisles or talk to the librarian (a real person in front of you not thousands of miles away who was called “Susie” and who spoke with a foreign accent). I remember when an upgrade to that meant your Mom and Dad ponied up and bought you the Encyclopedia Britannica so you could spend hot summer days on the cool of the porch reading and reading and reading. It’s not better or worse. It’s just what it is.


  1. When I got my first computer in 1988 it took 2 - 3 minutes to get to a new web page - if any were available. I bought the latest one - it had a HUGE hard drive at the time - 20 MB (not GB - MB)I would click - get a cup of tea, read, click - go pet the dog, read, click - check the snail mail, etc. Even though the satellite service is slow - as you say- it is going to inner/outer space and back, dang! It's amazing.

    1. Yes, indeed. Like many things in life, the appreciation of it is found or not found in the context. The appreciation arrives with the right perspective.