Last updated: July 20. 2014 5:09PM - 882 Views
Marla Boone



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After years of almost always doing what I ask, my computer sent me a little message in revolt. As nearly as I could tell, the gist of the message was that my formerly semi-obedient computer would not open a file because the decoding blah blah blah or that the file was corrupted by blah blah blah or that, and I suppose this is entirely possible, the computer just didn’t feel like opening the stupid file.


My resident computer expert is brilliant. He can solve just about any issue a recalcitrant computer or a corrupted file can throw at him. (I am now going to use some highly technical computer terms, most of which I do not understand. My resident computer expert assures me none of these are dirty words unfit for a family newspaper. I’ll have to take his word for it.) He uninstalled and reinstalled. He updated and unblocked. He allowed processing and finally downloaded a second file reader. Nothing. Nada. Zip. We were good and corrupted.


Finally, we bundled the computer up and took it to the store where we bought it. There are some awfully smart computer people at this store. Once one of them fixed my computer over the phone. I cannot tell you how much that impresses me. At the store, two serious—serious—computer gurus descended upon my corrupted file-laden computer with their considerable skills. To me, considerable computer skill is defined as knowing the function of every single key on the keyboard. I have a feeling these guys could disassemble a computer down to individual computer molecules and put it back together and it would run better than ever.


It is not possible I am the first person of my age group to throw myself on the mercy of the computer service desk which was manned entirely by people who are younger than my car. It is possible, however, that these same people have explained somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty zillion times that the computer, for all its capabilities, does not understand the nuances of what the operator intended to do. To their enormous credit, they did not make me feel dumb. Well, not too dumb. They asked a variety of questions, the answers to which were, of course, light years beyond my knowledge mostly because the questions themselves were light years beyond my understanding. I can only assume they were speaking English.


Luckily, I have learned better than to enter the computer store without an interpreter. Their questions sounded like “What is the status of your techno-maximo-hyper-attenuated whiz bang interactive gizmo?” and “Does your hydro-connectivity pseudo-chamber recalibrate the intrinsic metro-mechanical pathway?” My answers sounded like “Huh?”


After watching my eyes glaze over, they did the kindest thing possible, ignored me completely, and spoke directly to Steve.


First they tried a couple of simple fixes. (When you hear hoof beats look for horses, not zebras.) I won’t say they took it personally that my computer failed to fall back into line. But I will say the level of focus went up a notch or two. Or ten. Or a multiple of ten. Any more focused and they would have burned holes in the screen. They had the original sender of the file email the same file in an amazing number of ways, including, I believe, Sanskrit and ancient Hebrew, to see where the fault lay. They had the original sender send it to three different email addresses, single page, double page, and for all I know, Patti Page. They had the original sender wishing with all her heart she was not the original sender and had never heard of me or my computer.


Well into the second hour of this exercise, one of the guys had an ah-ha moment. You cannot grasp how thankful I was for an ah-ha moment by anyone. When, he wanted to know, speaking slowly and in monosyllabic words, was the last time I could open one of these files? November. Definitely November. You also cannot grasp how thankful I was to finally be able to answer a question all on my own.


It seems that my email provider in December decreased the size of attachments it would process. It seems my email provider was the source of all this angst. It seems my email provider is, in the parlance of the techo-savvy, a jerk. It seems my email provider is in immediate danger of being replaced.


But not my new computer guys. I’m theirs forever. Talk about angst.


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