Winston Churchill said somewhere or other that there are few things in life more exhilarating than being shot at without effect. I thought of this utterly characteristic remark a few hours ago as I watched a wizard from Ms Mac Consulting wipe the hard drive of my iBook and reinstall the operating system, an experience which I imagine to be not unlike watching in a mirror as a neurosurgeon pokes around in your head with a scalpel.
This unexpected and unwanted adventure into the unknown began last Saturday when I came home from Washington, D.C., booted up my computer, and discovered to my horror that some gremlin had translated all the words on the e-mail toolbar into Dutch. (I know, it sounds crazy, but they really were in Dutch–I checked.) Other peculiar little anomalies had been bobbing up on my screen from time to time in recent weeks, but this one was serious enough that I knew the time had come to seek professional counsel at once or run the risk of sudden and catastrophic paralysis. I got on the phone to Ms Mac and scheduled a Wednesday-morning house call. At the appointed hour, a flute-playing genius by the name of Nicole appeared on my doorstep, sat down at my desk, and started making magic passes over my prostrate iBook, which turned out to be even sicker than either one of us had suspected. Five nervewracking hours later, it was at least as good as new, and I went right out and downed a stiff drink.
One of the nice things about Nicole’s approach to computer consulting is that she is unfailingly tactful, by which I mean that she never says things like You mean you don’t know what a [fill in the blank] is? Recognizing at once that she was dealing with an innocent, she went out of her way to behave as if my ignorance were perfectly normal. I have no doubt that this is a specifically feminine mode of behavior, having spent far too many hours being stared at in self-evident disbelief by auto mechanics with hairy chests who made no effort whatsoever to disguise their contempt for the kind of guy who doesn’t know a socket wrench from a fanbelt (I exaggerate only slightly). If all auto mechanics were like Nicole, there would be peace on earth.
Thanks to her stalwart efforts, I now resume regular blogging activities–and about time, too. I’m off to Chicago at midday Friday to frolic on the aisle with OGIC, but until then I’m yours.