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.