Joyce Minor

I'm in a love-hate relationship

I love my laptop computer. I'm not a computer guru. I'm not even an amateur geek. But I know how to use it for all the basic things like email, word processing, Internet research and online shopping. I can even do basic troubleshooting when my system isn't cooperating. Usually. Lately, however, the thing seems to know when it's me using it. It likes to give me fits by refusing to open the browser for no good reason. Or sometimes it will just refuse to have more than one program open at a time, and nothing I try will remedy the situation. Ah, but if John touches it, the computer immediately straightens up and does exactly what it refused to do when I was the one at the keyboard. When this happens, John automatically thinks I must have done something wrong, yet I know I did the same things he did. In fact I'm certain of it, because I did them 20 times before bothering him about it. Still, no matter how many times I go through the correct and usual troubleshooting regimen, it is all to no avail. Yet when John does exactly the same steps, the computer works like a charm. Aaaargh!
It reminds me of the way our kids used to act sometimes. They would defy me, refusing to stop fighting or to take off their muddy shoes before charging across the carpet. But when their dad got home, they were all sweetness and cooperation. It irritated me then, and it infuriates me now. The problem now is that I can't put the computer in time out, or make it go to bed early, or take away its favorite new toy till it decides to cooperate. I mean, what's a mother to do? Ah, but tonight I had the last laugh. My computer refused to log on to our Wi-Fi network and nothing I did would make it work. I checked every connection and even backed completely out of all the open programs, which was only two anyway. I tried everything. I even shut down the computer and restarted it. The thing just laughed at me, so I grudgingly asked John to take a look. He is usually quite patient with my computer problems but this time I interrupted him in the middle of some music he was listening to so his patience was short. He tried to get my machine on the Internet at least twice, but it refused. So he gave up and went back to his music saying, "You might have to use my computer when you need to get online." That's it? Just use his computer? That's no solution. Now I was really tweaked and determined to fix it myself. I decided to re-enter the network number, which is supposed to be stored in the system so we don't have to key it in every time, but hey, it was worth a try. The first time I did it, it didn't work but I kept trying and eventually figured out that one digit of the long number was actually not a digit at all but a letter. Ah-hah! It worked. I couldn't resist crowing to John, but he had his ear buds in and couldn't even hear me. No matter. Now I'm so proud of myself, I'm considering taking my show on the road. So, if you have computer problems, I'm available. Just call 1-800. Wait a minute. What is this stupid computer doing now? No, don't lock up like that. "JOHN!!!! Help! This blasted computer hates me!"