On Monday, sometime between mornos and lunch, my work computer slipped from its normal ‘sleep mode’ and into a ‘deep coma’.
This became apparent after hitting the space bar and getting no reaction whatsoever – not counting a low-pitched whirring sound that, if I didn’t know better, I could swear was snoring.
Realising there might be a serious problem, I gathered all of my computer troubleshooting experience and, over the course of the next 10 minutes, applied that experience by hitting the space bar no less than 400 times.
When that didn’t work, I unplugged the computer and plugged it back in.
I tried a different power outlet, switched keyboards, wiggled my mouse, considered finding a different occupation, preferably one involving explosives.
I eventually realised the only thing left to do was call the Help Line number pasted on the computer and hope someone there could either
(a) talk me through this, or
(b) talk me down, should the computer move to the rooftop.
As expected, I was greeted by an automated voice telling me, in that creepy, robot-word-splice tone, that my call was important to ‘them’ and to please hold until the next representative became available.
Next came the music, a collection of Boney M, Roy Orbison and the Wiggles re-mixed — I’m guessing — by either Ozzy Osborne or Lady GaGa to keep people on-hold from growing impatient.
This is a little like trying to talk a 10-year old off the trampoline by giving them a pogo stick.
Making matters worse, I was reminded every 30 seconds — by that same creepy robot voice — that my call was “very important to ‘them'” and to remain holding for the next available representative.
When the service representative broke the line 20 minutes later asking for my computer’s asset number, I was unprepared.
Not just because it was the first un-synthesized human voice I’d heard in nearly 30 minutes, but also because I didn’t have the serial number ready.
That’s when “Taz” told me I could easily find the number by going to my computer and — very carefully — wiping away the coffee stains on the console.
Upon hearing these helpful instructions I cocked my head to one side and, while pinning the phone against my shoulder, fought off an aneurism.
I was then instructed to call back when I had the asset number readily available, to which I replied that I was “readily available” to catch a flight to Canberra and strangle him with a USB cord unless he waited for me to wipe my computer over and read him the number.
After entering the asset number into his system, he informed me all the hardware was still serviceable.
However, I needed to check my email in order for the service call to continue.
I thanked him for his time and, before hanging up, told him how much I was looking forward to having a glass of sweet tea when I got to Canberra with my USB cord.
My next move was the technicians to take my computer to an approved repair service located 160 kilometers away.
The up side is that I could now deal with real humans without a computer.
The down side is that driving everywhere to get things done would cost about as much as following up on my threat to actually fly to Canberra.
After careful consideration, I decided to stay here.
That’s because, the way my luck was going, “Taz” was probably a 120kg martial-arts champion whose passion for the sport began when his wife left him for a loudmouthed soldier.
Even if I got the computer fixed, what good would it do if I had to type everything with my tongue?
So, as of today, my computer is still with IT support and, according to the repair guy, they’re just waiting for a new “logic board” to arrive which, well…
…makes sense, I guess?
In the meantime, I’ll continue working on a back-up laptop that is too old to handle things like getting on the Internet, updating my spreadsheets, or performing any function in less than 10 minutes.
Oh hang on a minute ––– this is actually the most highly efficient Defence computer I have ever possessed!
Andrew Douglas is a long-suffering Aussie Digger who, after many hours of sitting in a pit with a notebook and pen writing his woes, has turned his hand to writing for leisure and entertainment in the comfort of his lounge room. He and his partner, Sonia, live in a 100-year-old home in southern NSW, where Andrew uses his home-repair skills to make improvements, such as being able to flush the toilet by turning on the garden tap.