For those of you following the trials and trevails of my recent computer intoxication, you should know that this past week my poor, drunken machine went berserk on me and then went kaput. I'm sure there are technological terms for its demise, but I don't speak the lingo, as I've been well-reminded during my recent computer shopping forays.
Armed with ads and my geek-girl sister in tow, I trekked around town in search of an adequate new PC that wouldn't break the bank. It was bad enough that I had driven my perfectly good, functioning machine to an alcoholic demise; I didn't want to spend a fortune replacing the thing.
We were approached by slouchy salesman who appeared to be about twelve years old, all mumbling in low tones and speaking a lanugage I could not understand (even if I could hear the words above the mumbling, which I couldn't). Geek sister understood perfectly and nodded, replied in like terms, and then would look at me for confirmation or response. I stared, confusion evident on my face, and muttered that "I, uh, just need a functioning, basic computer". They exchanged mirthful eye glances at my obvious stupidity, but plodded onward in their recommendations and tech-speak about which machine would be great. They all looked pretty much the same to me, so how was I supposed to choose? I did see a nice little lightweight laptop number I immediately took a shine to, but when I saw the $2000 sticker, I reeled backward and felt a bit light-headed.
My dear husband and I discussed our needs and wants, and quickly came to the conclusion that we just needed a basic computer. I use it for writing and email and internet, mostly. Luddites we may be, but I do need a PC to keep me productive, one with typical functionality. I communicated this to the salesman who gave me a blank stare. He blinked. "Uhhh, yeah. So, like, you don't want the MotherHonker deluxe screen, which is, y'know, good for gaming?" No. "Righty. But you'll need to upgrade to SuperPro version 87, which is the better operating system." If it's better, why doesn't the computer manufacturer preload it on the stupid thing to begin with? Blank stare. "Well, this one has 859,535 gazillion megabytes." Huh? An obvious language barrier, which made me wish I was back in my advanced Italian class where I could comprehend more than this.
Many of these new computers come with high definition gigundo-sized screens, apparently for video game players. Yeah, I need me one of those. I haven't played video games since the Atari days, and felt like it was a waste of precious time even then. It's nice to know that so many of our citizens have nothing more productive to do with their time than spend hours in mind-numbing play. Have they heard of books?
I may be a techno-idiot but being made to feel like an idiot by a twelve year old who looks upon me as a decrepid, even somewhat senile, old woman at the ripe age of 38, well, that's just humiliating. I think I'm going to have to turn to online shopping to avoid this unpleasant experience, but that is, of course, more difficult when my computer is kaput. I have geek sister researching systems for me. Wish me luck. I need to find something before it becomes completely obsolete. Or I do.
copyright 2005 Valerie Schneider