A Death in the Family by Trevor Plumbly
Not even with a whimper, but with more of a strangled gurgle, the old girl (excuse the feminine) shuffled off this electronic coil. By today’s standard, the Dell computer was a fossil, but for the last four years, she had absorbed all my outpourings without the complaint and criticism one occasionally receives from human contact on matters emotional, political or judicial. My first concern was that she might take all those personal goodies with her when she left for wherever dead computers go. But no! I was informed by all and sundry that those documents were lodged in the old girl and it would be easy to cut them out and transplant them into a brand new electronic bimbo. Those in the know, operating from are far loftier techno peak than mine, assured me that what I needed to function properly was an Apple Mac, so feeling somewhat like a teenager on a blind date, I entered the world of retail technology and discovered that blindness wasn’t my only handicap when it comes to electronics.
An Apple a Day?
It’s a nice old theory but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t apply to computers. The shop itself should have been warning enough, staffed and patronised by an army of serious faced blokes barely out of their teens, seemingly in closer emotional contact with keyboards than their fellow human beings. Our ‘consultant’ (they don’t have salesmen), demonstrated the virtues of the latest model, fingers flying across the keyboard like a demented concert pianist, at the same time as scanning the shop for other punters. He obviously couldn’t be contacted by normal means, so we left him to it. Shop number two was less frenetic and offered a more human approach, our consultant quietly assuring us that this particular number could do everything except make the tea. On my desk it was indeed a thing of beauty, all sleek and silvery with no ugly tower and tentacles of cables to diminish its importance. The technician arrived the following day to install my speech-assisted program and departed about two hours later, leaving me somewhat poorer and with a choice of microscopic text that I couldn’t read or a jumbo version too big for the screen to contain at one sitting. It soon became apparent that my Apple, like its biblical counterpart, came with a fair bit of aggravation and stress.
A Divorce in the Family
It seemed to me, and those struggling to help solve matters, that the Apple bimbo and I weren’t destined for a long term relationship and yet another machine was needed. This time we went to a mega-store and discovered that they have salesmen capable of speaking the same language as me and we left clutching a new Toshiba Touchscreen number. As I write this we seem to be getting on fairly well apart from a few teething troubles, among them the inability to send and receive email, which I hope yet another technician will solve as soon as I raise a second mortgage for his predecessor’s two hours labour. In the meantime, the Apple bimbo lies face down on the spare bed until I find someone from NASA to take it off my hands. The old girl still sits in the other corner, somewhat accusatory, awaiting the recycle process, a silent reminder of simpler, more pleasant computing days. By the time you read this, I should be fully operational again and out of my regard for you I leave you with some words of wisdom wrought out of experience: ‘If you’re over 70, don’t bugger around with technology!’