Pretty early on I started training myself to do my writing on the computer.
My first computer was a Compaq which I just didn't know how to use at all. I'd never been taught during my schooldays and the whole thing was a complete mystery that ended fortuitously when I moved house and the person carrying the computer managed to drop a bunch of dirt into it. I wasn't upset because all I ever did was look at it, sitting there with its massive boxy monitor, displaying itself with confidence and arrogance.
So I went out and bought another Compaq. I was able to master it by then as we were using computers all the time at work. Word became second nature, email was the way to go, and this whole new world of writing stuff and submitting it electronically was opening wide. I loved it all.
There may have been another one or two and then came the HP Touchsmart with the big 28 inch screen that was fabulous to work on. You can see it sitting up there on the left in the photo. By now I was editing websites, designing newsletters, and many other things to earn a living and having the big screen was a cannot-go-back-from and so last Friday I decided to retire the old HP and get a new one: once again an HP with a big screen, much faster and whizzier than the old one because, as we all know, time is of the essence and the old girl was taking far too long to boot up each morning (I don't mean me). You can see the new one on the right, and on its screen is this very Blog that I am writing.
A friend came by to help transfer all the files and get me set up. I am able to do some of this work myself but other parts of the process defeat me in a way that is terrible to witness apparently: plenty of hair pulling and screaming with rage and frustration, whisky bottles flying hither and thither ... my friend is still my friend, so that is good.
Anyway we got into our work and the amount of security that had to be sorted before one could even get to first base with this sleek new number was truly astounding and even my tech-savvy friend who is known for calm composure in the heat of battle was showing visible cracks in the facade. My response, as usual, was to attempt to throw the offensive machine out the window where it would slide down over the roof and thunder into the street below with a spectacular finale. My friend reminded me that I had paid a 'pretty penny' for the thing and throwing it away would be counterproductive in so many ways.
Fortunately, my old computer is still working, so we Googled and gobbled potato chips and gulped whisky and found the solution and the e-doors of the new machine banged open with frightening speed and efficiency.
I have not bonded with the new machine as yet. It is too soon. It appears to me to be clever and silently ferocious, devastating in efficiency and somewhat unforgiving when I make a mistake but clever enough to sigh, shrug its shoulders and say, 'just give me a minute, you silly sausage, and I will fix myself.'
So right now, new stands beside old in my office. It looks impressive, like the workspace belongs to a demon writer who churns out books with the speed of light. I am keeping old with new in case new kicks up rough again and decides it's had enough of dealing with my incompetence.
Then I can just wheel my chair a little to the left and take up with my old HP Touchsmart mate again. As my friend said, 'Well, at least you can keep working. If you didn't have a computer, you couldn't work.'