This morning I woke after a full night’s sleep. I awoke with the radio – I had time to drink coffee and read the newspaper. It was GLORIOUS. I drove to work – and arrived on time. There were only two calls in the log from yesterday to deal with first thing. As the phone rang, I was able to answer each call quickly and effectively.
Life was so good. It was a busy day, but not overwhelming. I continually thought to myself, “How can just a few hours of sleep make such a difference? In the future, I am not going to allow outside events to affect me so much.”
At lunch time, I commented to the “I want to keep her in my pocket” receptionist, “I don’t want to curse us, but today has been remarkably manageable hasn’t it?” “Yes, a lot less tension than yesterday,” she agreed. “It’s amazing the difference sleep can make for us, isn’t it?”
Agreeing with her assessment I return to my desk – and figure I’d do some editing while on my lunch hour. I also decide to surf a few recipe sites – as I have an acorn squash at home – waiting for some spectacular preparation for Thursday’s dinner.
In the middle of e-mailing a Maple and Current glazed squash recipe to myself, my computer suddenly freezes. Everything is locked up. NOTHING will move. I cannot even get the task manager to come up. “Fine, I’ll just power you off,” I think. It seems to take forever before the computer responds to the button, but finally everything blinks and goes black. Counting to 10 I press the start button so I can get on with my day.
Nothing happens. No lights flash, no disc whirs, no fan pushes air – and my screen stays black. I try again. No dice. I remove it from the docking station. No dice. I test the battery. No dice. “Fine, I’ll just grab that roaming laptop and finish up with what I have planned for the next half-hour,” I tell myself.
Except the roaming laptop? She does not recognize the server. “No big deal, I’ll just update the mapping,” I council myself. Of course – it wants my password to the server. WTF? I have no clue. And the person who DOES have the clue? Yep – out sick. Without a recognizable login, I cannot even get to my web-based e-mail to send him a message.
So now – I am dead in the water until the GM comes back from lunch – as none of the other programmers know anything useful about our log-on’s and drive mappings. When he returns … 45 minutes later, he resets my password. He tells me to call the computer company whose name is similar to Hell.
After the dyslexic challenge of tying to type in my 11 digit “service code” (which takes 3 phone calls and 3 attempts to enter the number correctly) … I finally get a technician on the line. He asks me to unplug the computer and try to turn it on. (Useless, I already tried that). Then without the A/C adapter he asks me to remove the battery and try again. (Useless) Next he asks me to remove “all owner installed equipment … like CD drives, USB’s and wireless network cards.” Cussing under my breath, I start yanking shit out of the computer. I am so pissed at this point common sense leaves me and I push in the release for the blank card that fills the portable wireless card slot (which I don’t use). You cannot imagine how happy I was as the eject stick came apart in my hand, a small spring and some other part sprung into the great beyond – and the blank stayed inside the slot.
“Now, hold down the “FM key” and press the power button at the same time,” he tells me. Now, I know keyboards pretty well. I mean, normally it is I saying things like, “Underscore is the dash and shift-key at the same time. The dash is next to your “zero” key on your number bar, not the ten-key pad.” Quickly I scan my keyboard. “You want me to hold down the “F” for (“fucking” I want to say) “fix” key and the “m” for “mess” key,” I ask? Turns out he’s asking me to hold down the FUNCTION KEY while trying to power the machine up. I know you’re amazed to hear the computer did not turn on.
Next he had the audacity to say, “Put a screwdriver in the screw release slot so we can remove the memory chips.” I am apoplectic with anger. “You want ME to remove MEMORY CHIPS?? From MY COMPUTER?” I say with the heat of lava flow dripping from my voice. It must be the language barrier – because he didn’t even fear for his life when he instructed me to “take my SCREWDRIVER and remove the MEMORY LID”. Of course, I don’t normally keep a small Philip’s head screwdrivers laying around my desk. (ok FINE. I do have a small hammer, a flat-head screw driver, needle nose pliers – and a spark-plug gapper, and a NORMAL SIZE Philips screw driver, but not a small Phillips.) Pissed beyond words I slam him on hold and go to the back of the office. Bursting in on a programming meeting I inquire about the location of the needed implement so I can remove the memory cards from my computer. Of course I assume by merely mentioning “MEMORY CARDS” and “SCREWDRIVER” in the same sentence people will be falling over themselves to be helpful. Once again Oscar from the “Odd Couple” is right. “Assume” only makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. Finding the tool, I return to my desk – AND A DEAD PHONE LINE.
I swear. I throw things. I long for Single Malt Scotch. Then I call “Hell” again. It only takes 2 calls for me to punch in the 11 digits in the right order. I repeat my service order number from before. I get a different “helpful” person. I bring him up to speed. I tell him I’ve now removed the Memory Lid. Next he walks me through squeezing the “clips” to release the memory. Of course “release” is a relative term. It is more like they wedge themselves in an three-quarters position. After they’re removed we have this exchange:
>> Stupid Tech Guy: Ma'am Lasly?? Can you unplug the power source and then try and turn on the computer? >>Ma'am Lasly: Pretty amazing isn't it how things won't turn on WHEN THEY HAVE NO POWER, ISN'T IT? Not to mention NO MEMORY CHIPS OR BATTERY!” >> Stupid Tech Guy: Ma'am Lasly? I am going to put you on hold for 2-3 minutes ok? While I get some more resources. >>Ma'am Lasly: (thinks to self) Oh, you better get some more resources mother-fucker. (says out loud) Suuure. >> Stupid Tech Guy: (When he returns to the phone) Okay, Ma’am Lasly that is great. So now, what we're going to do is try and remove the hinge cover. Can you pry the cover off? >>Ma'am Lasly: No, I cannot pry the cover off. >> Stupid Tech Guy: And why cannot you pry the cover off?
>>Ma'am Lasly: I cannot do that without fucking breaking it.
>> Stupid Tech Guy: “Oh, why are you worried about breaking it? Are you prying with the screw driver? Is it 180 degrees open?”
>>Ma'am Lasly: I am worried about breaking it because it is WEDGED in there – and not moving past the LED lights. I don’t know what 180 degrees IS – but the god damn thing is flat – and there is nothing HINDERING THE HINGE!
>> Stupid Tech Guy: Ma'am Lasly? Thank you again for that one. (clicking of keyboard sound) “Cannot pry cover off, is afraid of damaging unit and hurting self” he narrates to me as he types into his log. Then to me he says, “I am sorry to say you have moved beyond my resources. I am going to have to put you back on hold for another 3 - 7 minutes, okay? I have to find a level 2 technician. Ok that is good? >>Ma'am Lasly: Fine (hoping the 5 to 7 minutes of fake Steely Dan music will calm me enough so “I” don’t become unhinged.) *waits 5 minutes* >> Stupid Tech Guy: Hello? Ma'am Lasly? Thank you so much for that one. So, if I understand this right, your computer wouldn't turn on a week ago. A technician came and replaced your motherboard. It worked. Then today it stopped working. Right? >>Ma'am Lasly: That is right.
>> Stupid Tech Guy: Ma’am Lashly? Okay, thank you again for that one. And when everything is unplugged, and there are no customer installed additions, and the memory cards are gone, and the Function + Power key has been pressed, you still have a failure to post and have the laptop start, right?
>>Ma'am Lasly: Your understanding of the situation is astounding.
>> Stupid Tech Guy: Ma’am Lashly, okay, that is good, yes? So, the next thing is a technician will come and replace the motherboard in two or three days. I will also send you an e-mail with a description of everything we tried. If you have any questions, you can respond to the e-mail, ok?
>>Ma'am Lasly: w/e – knowing it doesn’t matter how much sleep I have – there are outside events that would even drive Mother Teresa to a stiff scotch after work.