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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Once upon a time

Photo from Google images
Once upon a time, not so long ago, an elderly lady decided to purchase a portable computer since she enjoyed keeping in touch with her friends by e-mail and writing her memoirs too and fancied a laptop which she could use in the kitchen, in the garden or the conservatory or elsewhere rather than being tied to the desktop computer which she had heretofore shared with the little old man who was her husband.  Now this old lady was never one to rush into things especially the purchase of something quite expensive so she thought about it a great deal before going to a shop and making enquiries.  Sadly the young man in the department which sold computers and such like spoke a language she didn't understand and she left the store saying to herself that she really didn't need such a thing and perhaps a new pen and some notepaper might be a better bet for someone like her.

Some months later however she was in another store and egged on by her husband she spoke with a delightful young woman who actually talked in a language which she could understand and although, as I said, not one to rush into buying anything she said that she'd give it some more thought and come back tomorrow - which she duly did.  However not only was the young lady not there that day but the computer which had been more or less decided upon was not now in stock at that branch although another branch not far away had several.  Once again the old lady wondered if this was a sign that she should put her credit card safely back in her purse and forget about having a computer of her own.

However encouraged by the old man they went to the other branch where they did indeed have several of the make and model she wanted but they would not be able to set it up for her which the young lady had told her could be done for an extra £30 and which she had wanted done thinking that it would be really "hers" if she didn't have to ask anyone to help her get started..  So yet again she said, "Let's forget the whole idea" whereupon the young man obviously scenting a lost sale dashed off and spoke to the technical manager who said that they could do it but just not straight away since their own computer system was "down" but since the old lady didn't need it straight away, and indeed didn't need it at all, she agreed that it could be sent to her when it was "done".  She naively thought that it would be all set up and ready to go just needing to be switched on and had indeed said this to the man who said that the virus checker and the Word program (plus a couple of others she'd never use - she did wonder why these programs couldn't be sold individually and not in packages as she knew she'd never use Excel but might have liked Publisher) would be installed and ready to use. The lady felt guilty when she left the shop having paid with her credit card for the computer she still wasn't sure she truly wanted especially when she saw the numerous homeless people begging on the pavements outside for how many hot meals would the cost of a computer buy even though she knew that she probably wouldn't have given that amount to the homeless anyway. 

Eventually the parcel arrived and she attempted to figure out how to use the machine.  Of course it didn't have the necessary program for downloading her photos even had she been able to figure out just where to plug in the camera!  Neither did it link to the wifi system at her home, it didn't have Firefox which she was used to but only Explorer which she wasn't.  The Word program was quite different to the one she was used to not to mention the integrated mouse being difficult to use.  Not being a very patient sort of person she became so frustrated and cross that she turned it off and shoved it in a cupboard in a fit of pique saying she wished she'd never bought the stupid thing, that life was too short to spend messing about with it and that she'd get rid of it unless the old man wanted it.

A few weeks passed and she often lay awake at night thinking about the computer and wondering why she had been silly enough to buy it being too stupid to understand the first thing about it and how to load all the necessary stuff on to it without help.  Why was it that it seemed everyone else knew all these things and why was technology of any kind such a mystery to her?  One day she came home earlier than expected from an outing to find the old man playing with her new toy and loading the required things onto to it but she still wasn't interested and didn't want anything more to do with it - how childish for an old lady to behave in such a way!

During these passing weeks the old lady felt as if she was under some kind of cloud and although the computer wasn't the only problem life was putting her way at this time she somehow blamed all the other things on it.  She was, let's face it, a bit afraid of the thing - it lurked in the cupboard like some menacing beast which might attack her should she open the cupboard door.  Of course this situation couldn't go on for ever for after all her motto for life was "waste not want not" and surely it was wasteful to have the thing not used especially as by now the credit card bill had been paid.  So one day when the sun was shining and she was feeling more positive about things she decided that she must take the bull by the horns - a very apt metaphor - and attempt to make use of it now she'd got it.

It would be nice to be able to say that she has now trained the beast but sadly that is not true and she still gets frustrated with it as she can't do some of the things she wanted to do and still wishes she hadn't bought it but at least now that the old man has given her a normal mouse to go with it she can use it to write although as yet she hasn't found out how to print what she writes!  And at least when the elderly couple want to watch a TV programme they have missed on i-player they can sit comfortably on the settee and watch it on the laptop rather than perched on stools in front of the desktop computer.

One good thing to come from all this was that feeling so fed up with technology altogether and thinking that she was obviously born in the wrong century and how much simpler (not easier for of course life was hard and is still hard at times for everyone) life would have been a hundred years ago she gave up using the desk top computer too or at least not as often did she check her e-mails or look at blogs or the internet and she realises just how much time - which she surely has much less of now that she is almost 70 - she was wasting on what had become an addiction or OCD  and how much better it is to spend time outside in the fresh air with Nature.  But sometimes she does miss all that writing and maybe one day she will be back posting if only she can find a balance and keep the time she spends on the thing to a more acceptable level and if she can actually tame the beast to work for instead of against her!