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Monkey astronauts with computer problems

Erik Vienneau

When I thought it was rude this morning that my toaster didn’t say “Welcome, you have toast,” I knew I had a problem. I’m getting a little too comfortable with computers and their voices these days. I especially like the tone of the “hello” and “goodbye” on my web account. She sounds kind of cute … if only in an “if RTD2 was a chick” kind of way. Lately, when the system says “thank you” when I log off, I find myself saying “you’re welcome.” I feel like I don’t want to be rude.Now I know you’re thinking, this guy is totally normal. Wait, what’s that? You think I’m more nuts than Planters? Well, luckily I can’t hear you or anyone else for that matter because I work from home. So, besides the occasional phone call and the quick “have a nice bike ride” (with a “you suck, I’m so jealous,” under my breath) to my neighbor, I have about as much contact with real people as a solo monkey astronaut.Not surprisingly, everyone I talk to (computer voice and mailman included) thinks it would be so cool to work from home. You’d get up late, throw on a pair of sweats and start working. I’ve mastered the getting up late and the fleece sweatpants part; it’s just the work part I’m struggling with.See, at my house, previous to me working here, the closest thing me and my roommates did to work was the time we had to move the couch cushions to find the remote control. The toughest time before that was when the fridge power circuit blew and we had to move all the beer into a cooler. It wouldn’t all fit, so we had to … wait, that’s another column.But lately, all those household chores, like mopping the floor, vacuuming and cleaning the stove are looking a lot more attractive. After all, I think, when compared to work, a rock fight sounds pretty inviting.So now, once I’m done modeling for a Mr. Clean commercial, I sit down at my new $1,700 iMac and start typing away. Seems simple enough, until you learn your cool-looking new computer locks up as much as FirstBank.At an office, when your computer crashes, you call in the tech support guy and wait for him to call you an idiot and fix your machine. But, at home, when your computer crashes, you cry. You cry because the few tricks ingrained in our heads to fix our Atari when those blurry Space Invader ships would freeze, don’t always work.After I try the old turn it off … pray and turn it back on technique, my options become more limited. Hitting the computer like the Fonz on the side doesn’t usually help. Next, I start thinking hammer and second story windows for some reason. Then I resort to humanizing my machine. I think, “Man, she’s been running for a while … maybe she needs to ‘sleep’ for a while. After a nice nap, I turn her back on and if she still doesn’t say “welcome,” I think,and I’m not kidding, maybe she’s cold. So I shut the window behind her and give it a few more minutes.By now, even though I’m working all alone, I can hear the sound of computer techs across the valley laughing at me, but I’m doing the best I can here.Hey, by the way, you want to come over for some toast? Goodbye.


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