Saturday, 25 October 2008

Parents+computers= desk rage

My dad has a computer. He bought his first 'real' PC in 1995. When I say real, I mean a modern computer with Windows (which to father, were only contraptions to look through a house wall). I remember the occasion well. It took him approximately 4,9382 weeks to make the purchase, and double that number in visits to PC World. Rumours had it they gave him his own parking space in the car park and suicide rates of PC World workers in Cardiff rose by 98%.

Poor dad isn't a natural at technological advances. He struggled to show me how to use the VCR when I was 4, but the most thing I learnt was how to swear; "bloody hell...bloody machine". A year later, I was showing him how to use said machine to record an episode of Dad's Army. This was an important landmark in my life. I realised parents weren't good at everything, in fact, they could be damn awful at things. It was to prove an understatement of the millennium when it came to anything electronic coming into contact of my parents.

In fairness, dad has learnt a lot. When I think at how his caveman approach to computers has developed in about 14 years. Now he has the stone-age approach. I.e. error message flashes up, and he reaches for the stone club from his lair. Since the dawn of the internet, dad has become a fully fledged silver surfer. He would never admit it, but he bloody loves the internet, even if it does take him an hour to type out a web address. But I have seen the love in his eyes when the word 'Google' is uttered.

Problems are minor but nevertheless pesky. Usually he has just minimised 342 windows, and doesn't know how to maximise them. Sometimes he has moved a file (but the "COMPUTER DID IT! I DIDN'T DO A THING!" I love this phenomena. If computers really did do these things on their own, I suggest Scotland Yard arrest a few million machines for all those unsolved crimes that are floating around). Other times he's accidentally changed the layout on screen and becomes convinced the entire hard drive is wiped. Some occasions I am sure he just forgets to switch the something on (insert joke about switching his brain on here).

However, years have been taken off my life in dealing with his 'computerial issues'. Being the youngest sibling is a curse. You get lumbered with parental problems of the technical type that the elders seem to escape. The phone will ring, I will answer. "SianthebloodycomputerisbrokeIcantaccessmyemailsIcantgetontheinternetThisbloodymachineImbloodyfedupofit!" "Hi dad, I'm fine thanks for asking...."
Things can rarely be solved over the phone, no matter how small the problem. Anyway, there's only so long you can listen to your own father's heavy breathing as his blood begins to boil because he can't find 'File' and 'Save As'. You can hear the clicks of the mouse, they sound like he is shooting a pistol against an iron door (perhaps he is). The typing sounds like he is punching the keyboard (he probably is). Subtlety, thy name is not father. Sometimes I think he has swallowed a raging, deranged pit bull, cross-bred with a psychotic steam engine in a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. "I fucking hate this machine. I hate computers. This fucking thing."

Computer-rage. It can make grown men cry. is possibly worth it to hear your own dad turn around to his mates in the pub, and with a smile that could only be matched when Wales beat England at rugby, he proudly proclaims much to the adoration of his audience as if he has returned from the battlefield as a war hero; "I learnt how to cut and paste today."


Ian J said...

Thats hillarious!!! I was giggling furiously at my desk reading that! :)

Good writing Sian :)


kissdadookie said...

Wow. I am flabbergasted as to how brilliantly accurate this all is. Wow. "This fucking thing," this must be THE phrase muttered, yelled, etc. when one can not differentiate his/her computer from the toaster.