Saturday, 12 March 2011

Computer Says Relax

I was trying to write tomorrow's blog post today and in doing so manage to get ahead of the game (the game is called Keeping A Girlfriend And An Active Social Networking Life At The Same Time, and let me tell you, the rules are complicated), when the universe, or rather more specifically, technology, decided what it wanted was to piss me off. I save my files a lot - obsessively, some might say - so this shouldn't have been so bad, except that I'd only just finished writing one paragraph and I hadn't had a chance to save yet. As I innocently pressed the return key and stretched out a hand to the mousepad, my computer blinked at me. I froze, horrified. I knew that what I'd just written (damned if I can remember it now) had a very good chance of being lost forever. Blinking, for my computer, is a precursory statement to all out war.

My computer is not my friend. We are casual allies at best, but I know that it will betray me the first chance it gets. I trust it about as far as I could throw it. I am aware that it takes a perverse joy in simply ceasing all activity and refusing to respond to any kind of command during any work that could be important to me. So it was with a sigh that I reached out to try to shut it down. And then I paused. Not only had I been writing the blog post, but I had been halfway through a rather long detailed email and in various stages of progress with several other things online that I didn't really want to lose. I am the kind of person who has a minimum of 33 million tabs open at any given time, and as such, when the computer rebellion happens, it's always a massive inconvenience to re-find all those hilarious photos of kittens riding turtles and other amusing random internet junk. I decided, with what I would term 'cautious optimism', that I would try to outwit or at least outwait the computer, Surely it would resolve its problem eventually if I left it for long enough without poking at it?

I returned two hours later. The computer blinked at me smugly, and made little whirring noises that sounded, to my fury, very much like robotic giggles. I caved.

Me: (begging) Please work.

Computer: Crashy crashy!

Me: (pinches nose) No, don't say 'crashy crashy'. Please... just work...

Computer: (insistently) Crashy crashy crashy..........freezy!

Me: (desperately) NO! NO! Okay, I'll buy you a ...a something. A new part, for like, your keyboard or whatever. Anything you want. PLEASE! Do not 'crashy crashy' at me.

Computer: (pauses, as if considering my offer and then, smugly) Crashy crashy.

Me: I loathe you. What if I did all my work on the Mac from now on? Huh? How'd you like that? Hmm?

Computer: (somewhat sulkily)  Crashy craaaashy.

Me: Yeah, well, maybe you don't leave me much choice.

Computer: Crashy. Beeeeeeeeeooooop. (shuts down)

Me: Fine, be like that! Jeez. It was an empty threat!

The next day, things were a little awkward between us. I knew I hadn't really meant what I'd said, and the computer knew I hadn't really meant it, and I knew it knew I knew. And yet, through the uncomfortable pause as it breezily turned on like nothing had happened, there was a moment of unspoken truce between us. Another day stretched out in front of us, full of the promise and potential that browsing can bring. I'll just have to be on my toes and save every twenty or so words. And really, that's not such a high price to pay to get along.

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