Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Reruns: WORK, Dammit!

(original post-date: October 13, 2010)

Several months ago, through the disputable wonder that is Facebook, I reconnected with an old friend. And the timing was fortuitous. As it happened, she was only weeks away from traveling to the L.A. area to see her Dad. So, we made plans to get together.

On the day of our scheduled reunion, I found myself cleaning my apartment in anticipation of catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in 30 years. While reloading the Swiffer Duster, I thought about priming the CD player for a song that was part of our adolescent experience back in the mid-70s. But then I got sidetracked by the vacuum cleaner…

Later, after her arrival – which found us jumping up and down outside my apartment building as we squealed and hugged and squealed some more – we were settled on my living room couch in rapid-fire catch-up mode. On the one hand, it seemed as if we had been talking together only yesterday. On the other hand, we each had three decades worth of personal history to share.

At a certain point, I remembered the idea of providing a soundtrack from our youth.

“Hold on!” I said, interrupting our conversation. “I gotta find a CD.”

I then ran to my bedroom to retrieve the disc, and I quickly returned to set it up in the living room player.

My sound system, though, would not be cooperative. Sure, it would make busy moves, and it would click to convey that busy-ness, but no song was delivered as a result of its efforts.

I tried a few maneuvers that, in the past, had helped to kick the CD player into submission.

And then… I simply took a few steps back, looked at the machine intently, and yelled, “WORK, Dammit!”

Immediately, we heard the tender opening notes of Harry Chapin’s Taxi.

“I’ve got it on voice command,” I told my friend, smiling smartly.

If only.

(Voice command, my ass.)

The fact of the matter is this: I have a love/hate relationship with anything that involves a cord.

The love comes from what I get from the technology: music; netflix; the opportunity to share my writing in cyberspace; quick communication with my clients; and so on. The hate comes from the possibility that, at any moment, something could go wrong with that technology, and I feel completely powerless in those moments of malfunction.

More than two weeks ago, I bought an external hard drive, and then… I let it sit on the table for 10 days. I dreaded opening the box and going through the procedure of setting it up. Why? Because I might confront a problem.

(I’m still hoping to meet and fall in love with an IT Guy, but until that happens, I’m screwed.)

Finally, the other night, I got bold and took on the project of setting up the external hard drive. And as I was going through the install procedure (and, for the most part, it wasn’t difficult), I had an AHA! moment regarding technology and me. It is this: I don’t CARE how it works! Technology is simply not something I want to LEARN.

And that is very much the problem.

I am absolutely learning-oriented, and technology flies directly into the face of my modus operandi.

If I don’t care, then I’m not interested.

And if there is not a learning opportunity (that I care about – from my gut), then I’m definitely not going to stick around for all the hairy details.


End of discussion.

I don’t care what’s making the damn computer and all its software work. I don’t care if it’s a microchip or a fucking hamster on a treadmill. I don’t know megas from gigas, and I don’t even want to hear about them. You can just take that chatter to another Gates.

And speaking of names… the other night, after I plugged in the external hard drive and had moved on to the screen that allowed me to backup (but not to the 60s, unfortunately), the window indicated that the computer from which the hard drive was retrieving files was KATIENEW.

Seeing that title really jarred me for a minute. I swear, I have no idea where it got my name. (I know I didn’t introduce myself!)

But… maybe I shouldn’t complain.

It could have said KATIEOLD.

... I recently was sent an hysterical YouTube video that speaks to my frame of mind. It's about a Medieval Helpdesk, and the subtitles are therefore in English.

I just tried to load the YouTube here, and I am growing increasingly impatient. So, here's the link:

... I'm over it. I'm just.. over it!


Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who wants to know how everything works, I understand the part where it is best to hold up one's hands and say, "I don't care how!" I am just not able to do that very often. I remember the youTube video from last time and I still think it is brilliant!
This words: "On the one hand, it seemed as if we had been talking together only yesterday. On the other hand, we each had three decades worth of personal history" sums up every good friendship that survives the test of time. Love it!

Sarah Pearson said...

I'm the same as you. Luckily, I met and fell in love with an IT guy :-)

Love that video!

Linda Medrano said...

Katie, Alex is a computer scientist, a software architect and developer. I am the most technology challenged person in the world. I can't even plug in a lamp safely, or master a remote. I'm hopeless. And thank God Alex can do these things because I cannot. It took me a month to figure out how to make or answer a call on my new iphone (of course Alex makes sure we have all the newest toys...). Oy vey!

cj Schlottman said...

Katie, You have captured my feelings in this post! As always, it is an enjoyable and entertaining piece.


E.R. King said...

KATIE0LD! So funny. I'm kind of like you. I don't really care how things work, so long as they work. When I want to know how it works, I'll ask. Otherwise, I want it to just do what it does and not break on me because I'll have no idea how to fix it.
Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you had a good time with your friend!

Michael Offutt said...

An external hard drive is an excellent thing to have. I use mine every day.

Theresa Milstein said...

How cool you got to see an old friend.

I almost always need assistance when it comes to technology.