Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PARENTING A PC

Just a few of the real-life faces of a PC victim:

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It occurs to me that having a PC must be like having a child. (Only without the exhilarating joy everyone seems to tout as compensation for all the Hell and hassle of things like screaming infants and mouthy teens.)

See, as I understand it, there are certain trying parts of parenthood that are universal . . .
• When you're a parent, you find yourself continually digging for and exercising inordinate amounts of patience.

• Sometimes you tell your kid to do something and they either just won't do it or getting them to do it is an exercise in strategy and cunning. And very often futility.

• It takes a certain amount of time to get to know your kid's personality. And then they become a teenager and it changes and all your work seems to be for naught.

• Kids talk back.
Compare this with a PC:
• When you are working on a PC you find yourself continually digging for and exercising inordinate amounts of patience.

• Sometimes you tell your PC to do something and it either just won't do it or figuring out how to get them to do it is an exercise in strategy and cunning. And very often futility.

• It takes a certain amount of time to get to know your PC's operating system. And then the thing's outdated and you have to learn a new [faulty] operating system and its glitches and all your work seem to be for naught.

• PCs perpetually spit out incomprehensible error messages, as if they were prone to talk back.
This evening I had to get that blasted expense report done, and I knew that the really terrible part of the task would be figuring out what was wrong with my computer/printer connection. For a month now, various error messages have very clearly communicated that no matter what I said or did the PC and the printer had conspired to deny me all printed documents that I requested. Demanded. Wished for. And seriously: cried about.

So once I had done absolutely everything else on my to-do list for the evening, I crept into my office and stared down my laptop and its coconspirator, the HP6310. I sat down, cracked my knuckles, and began the laborious process of digging into Microsoft's convoluted "troubleshooting" tips. This one didn't work. Neither did that one. Or that one. And then, after a while, I found myself in DOS. DOS! Oh, you absolute bastards, I'm a consumer, not a programmer! People like me have no business in DOS.

I stared at the black screen with the blinking white cursor, put my head in my hands, and cried. I hoped that my husband would get home soon so that I could blink my tear-filled eyes at him and plead that he take over and fix the effing piece of sh*t. (But he still wasn't home from the 7PM showing of Eclipse (by himself); told you he'd go.)

I took deep breaths. I wiped my eyes. And went back to it. In the end the problem turned out to be a bad cord. Of course I can't blame the PC for that; what got my goat was the absolutely terrible process of troubleshooting. I have no idea if my printer is a PostScript or non-PostScript. Of course I don't know which port my printer is connected to. Every time I ever have to click the Help button on my PC I cringe inside, for I know that getting some actual help will take all my efforts and patience.

I dreaded the task before I conquered it. I employed deep breathing to keep me calm throughout. I found myself frustrated to tears. And what I tried along the way isn't necessarily something I'm going to remember for the next time this issue pops up.

See, I don't need kids just now, Dear Reader. My work computer seems to be giving me about the same amount of strife that Jack's giving Whitney these days and we seem to be employing the same tactics in effort to gain a semblance of control.

2 comments:

rookie cookie said...

I just read your list of what it's like to have a child and I thought, "Wow, I guess I have told Megan everything about my days with Jack."

p.s. I like my PC. So sue me.

Jessica said...

Looks like I'll be hiring my husband to sue Rookie. (Now, how should I pay him...)