December 28th, 2006

My Appliances Are Seeing In the New Year Early

Since birth I have had what you might term an unusual relationship with all things mechanical. (Maybe even since pre-birth. Who knows what my murky silhouette might have done to the sonogram machine?)

It’s not like I don’t read the directions. Every gadget I get, I skim through the little manual and figure out how to get our relationship off to a good start. Nevertheless, I end up having to coax The Thing to do whatever it was designed to do and has absolutely no intention of doing for me. 

Like my phone. It has a red light that glows if I’ve received a call; if I’ve received a voicemail, it flashes. After I listen to the voicemail, it stops flashing. Unless. 

If I dial a phone number too soon after listening to the voicemail, the light decides it can’t work under those conditions—and just continues flashing. Until I receive another voicemail, listen to it, hang up, and allow the light plenty of time to decide to stop flashing. 

I have regular technological problems, too. Like the vacuum won’t pick up thread—but that’s probably not atypical of vacuums. And the scanner won’t work with my desktop, but that’s some kind of software issue. And my computer starts acting gummed up if I listen to streaming music. (Not just my desktop. Not just my laptop. Every computer I use. Every time. Still, it's probably just a RAM thing.)

I’m not counting these among my own unique mechanical weirdnesses. But this next one is kind of special. 

I got a new memory stick last weekend, and have tried four times to use it. Each time it freezes, eventually leading to the entire computer freezing. So frozen does it become, in fact, that when I control-alt-delete the little comprehensive menu box that pops up will not allow me to shut the computer down—but instead it freezes, too. (It froze, in fact, as I was first trying to post this entry. I hope I didn’t make it angry. But then, can our relationship really get any rockier?)

Naturally when I stuck the stick in the USB port on another computer I use, it installed instantly, as it’s supposed to. (And it’s way cool—it comes with all kinds of stuff my old memory stick didn’t. Too bad I can’t make use of it.) 

On a whim (read: because I am a glutton for punishment) I decided to give the memory stick one more try--in a different USB port. 

And it WORKED. (And here I thought people were illogical!)

Then there’s the camera. It does this thing sometimes where the LCD panel shows a scene as though it were some sort of expressionist painting—all long, depressing, orange-hued lines. Usually that means it needs new batteries. Usually I don’t have any. So usually I just turn off the LCD and shoot away until I pick up some new batteries. 

But not this week. 

This week, when I tried snapping pictures, the photos themselves looked like depressing expressionist paintings.

So I swung by the store, got a few packs of batteries, and popped in four new ones. 

I was dismayed, but not the least bit surprised, when the LCD images, as well as the photos themselves, continued with their expressionistic attitude. 

So today I brought my little camera to a colleague I thought might be able to help me. I tried explaining my problem with no luck, so I decided to show, not tell. I switched on the camera, snapped a picture—and it looked just perfect. Perhaps never has one person been so irritated by a machine that worked exactly the way it’s supposed to. 

Evidently the camera is off its bender now. I’m going to give the memory stick through the first of the year, but if it doesn’t sober up by then, it may be time for an intervention. (Or it may be time to check the white pages for Technologically Clueless Anonymous. I just hope I don’t have to leave them a message, so a representative can call me back and leave a voicemail, so the little red light can start flashing…. Sigh.)

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