When Garry came into the bedroom, I was staring at the radio. Garry takes his hearing aids off at night, so we have bedtime conversations at high volume. Shouting, really.

“Why are you staring at the radio?”

“I’m trying to figure out if it’s on. Oh, it just started to make noise. It’s on.”

“But why are you staring at it?”

“I thought if I stared at it for a while, it would start to play. Or not. One way or the other, I would find out what the red light means.”

“What red light, and why are you staring at it? How will staring at it help?”

“That’s how I figure things out. It didn’t come with instructions.”

Pause. “Have you taken any drugs?”

“No. See, there’s the red light. I didn’t if know the red light means the CD player is on or off. I had to wait to see if it started playing. I was pretty sure a blinking red light means pause, but I wasn’t sure what a steady red light means. I waited when there was no light. Nothing happened. So I tried it the other way. Now it’s making noise. Therefore, the red light means it’s on. It’s slow getting started.”

I wasn’t trying to be funny, but Garry started to laugh and couldn’t stop. “That’s the sort of thing I would do,” he said,

“Well, how else would I know what the red light means?”

He laughed some more.

Garry thinks I know a lot of stuff I don’t really know, especially about technical issues. I push buttons. If staring (and waiting) doesn’t fix what’s broken, I push another button. Or push the same button again. Or hold the button for a couple of seconds and see if it does something different.

While I’m waiting, I watch. Intently. Maybe I’ll get a message. Isn’t this how everyone fixes stuff? I used to look things up in the manual, but since no one supplies a manual anymore, it’s more art than science.

My husband finds this hilarious.

I spend a lot of time staring at computers, waiting for something — anything — to happen. Hoping an idea will occur to me or for the system to reboot. To see if a blue screen will recur, or the diagnostic will tell me there’s no problem, even though I’m sure there is.

I am waiting for a message.

I must be doing something right. Beethoven is playing on the CD player/radio. And most of the time, the computers work.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

14 thoughts on “SOMETHING ALWAYS HAPPENS – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Not everything is on Google. This weird little radio/CD player was the end of a bunch of stuff Philco made that “looked antique.” No one had ANY information about it … and I’m pretty sure it was made in China and all they included was something a bit smaller than a business card that explained nothing and wasn’t in any language I recognized. It worked. In fact, it works very well, but it’s a bit weird.

      I used to have a great friend-colleague named Sergei who came from Kyrgyzstan. He was a genuine genius with computers. I think he could do ANYTHING. I asked him how he knew what to do, and this is what he said (say it with a Russian accent, or it won’t sound right):

      “Keep hitting buttons. Something will HEPPEN.” (Not happen. Heppen.) I have always followed that philosophy.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, but hitting buttons can really unglue the machine if you aren’t able to backtrack over whatever it was you were trying to do. Sergei was a genius. I am NOT. He could rip the whole thing apart and remake it from scratch without even thinking about it. He set up the wifi in the whole Soviet Union before he came to the U.S. (and never ever wanted to go back!). I met a lot of really interesting people in tech. So many of our best people are from Russia and India and other, more obscure places.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. lmao. omg, that sounds so like me. I can’t fix anything, my eyes are too bad so I stare a lot and listen even more. Is there a sound? What kind of sound, an I’m thinking sound, an I’m going to work sound, or I’m working sound. The tone says it all for me, but I still stare at the little red or blue button lmao.


    1. Part of it is I’m waiting to see if the color changes, goes out, starts to flicker — you know — does SOMETHING. A lot of our electronic tools don’t have a lot of warning about what they are thinking about doing. They just do them.


  2. I have a small clock radio near my sewing machine and listen to music when I work. Several years ago, my grandson asked me what I was doing. I said I was listening to the radio. He said ‘why.’ I think about that every time I turn it on. Definitely a thing of the past. 🙂 The car we traded in a week ago I couldn’t even turn the radio on and off even after stopping at the dealer. 🙂 I’m with a few others, I Google and if that doesn’t work, I YouTube. Some times I’ll be sitting here working on a laptop, using another one to search and a phone to search also. 🙂


Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.