The computer stutters and quivers and goes strange colours (sometimes it is like a fog has descended.) A vast amount of the time it will not do anything. Every time I scan it, it finds thousands more errors. This morning, it ate half a chapter of book.
I think, plaintively: but I never, ever open those emails asking me if I would like a more erect erection. (I think the people who send these are a little muddled.)
Just at the moment of terror and despair, the door goes and Stanley the Dog barks his head off and I find a kind gentleman with a box. ‘Oh Stanley,’ I cry, gazing at the gentleman with pitiful delight. ‘Don’t bark. It’s the lovely man from John Lewis.’
(I needed some linen and a nice shampoo and various other things at the same time, so I got it all from John Lewis, which is never knowingly undersold, and delivers in about half an hour flat and does not discriminate against me because I live north of Watford.)
The man from John Lewis looked slightly surprised, but took it in his stride. Stanley gave up barking and went to inspect his van.
‘He thinks you’ve got Bonios,’ I say, conversationally. I am giddy with relief and so quite chatty.
‘Fish and chips,’ says the gentleman, not seeming to mind.
‘Oh careful,’ I say. ‘He’ll have that. He’s a lurcher.’
We part in mutual fondness. Or it may be that the happy look in his eye is simply because he is managing to escape before I start telling him about Red the Mare and how the great filly Treve danced all over her opponents at Longchamp yesterday, quckening miraculously off a slow pace and shooting courageously through gaps that were not there. I swear at one point she just shouldered her way past two other horses as if to say: out of the way ladies, girl’s coming through.
And so, the day is saved. I am passionately glad that I shall not lose everything. But the day is also lost, in the temporal sense, because of the endless, grinding, convoluted, sadistic process of setting up a new machine.
What about the old ladies? I find myself thinking. I’m not a techie, but I’m under fifty and reasonably well-educated. I got email half way through my twenties, although at the time I only knew one other person who had it, and we used to send merry exchanges across the Atlantic Ocean, in a slightly self-conscious early adopter kind of way. I admit I did have to type both my first books on a typewriter. But still. I am of the technology age. Yet it took six hours. SIX. What about those people who grew up with pens and paper and dial telephones? My mother actually spent her childhood driving around in a pony and trap because it was the war and there was no petrol. How would that generation manage?
It is the most lovely, sleek, beautiful machine. It is all shiny and fast and new. But it has Windows 8 on it. Windows 8 looks frantically sexy and is the work of Satan. Well, they always say the devil will have the best lines. It’s all touch-screen and trying to be Apple, and I don’t really like Apple. (That is a very subjective judgement. I realise it is brilliant. I just like typing and clicking.) It is filled with meretricious buttons which it calls Apps, in a dad-dancing kind of way, trying to get down with the kids.
What about the old gentlemen? I think. Do the silver surfers count for nothing? How shall they work all this out?
It has lots of commercial things stitched into it. I don’t want shopping applications and the ghastly Norton and an Ebay button and various things which insist I must scan my registry this very minute. I like choosing my own. Free market, I snort, the old lefty in me suddenly singing the Internationale. Not very free, if you ask me. I feel as if I am being press-ganged.
So I bash my way through my first world problems and think how absurd all this new technology is, and feel glad that I may get a lovely new machine but also furious that I have to, since obsolescence seems to be built in.
I’d like one good item onto which I could put all the nice software which I have chosen and which contains all my writing and all my photographs of Red the Mare and Stanley the Dog and all the old tunes I adore and for it to last for ten years. But that, apparently, would not please the grasping cabal of computer people, who clearly don’t give a bugger about landfill and just want me to have to replace the poor tottering creatures every two years. It has happened with every machine I’ve ever owned, no matter how much anti-virus I put in, or firewalls I erect. They just start to die. (Except, I do admit, there was one which I slaughtered myself, with Diet Coke.)
Still, I must count my blessings. The thing is very pretty and it works. I may write my book and do my work. I just need a little strong liquor for the regulation new computer rage.
No time for pictures. It’s after the Archers, even. I don’t know what I’m doing really, sitting here writing a blog at this time of night. But I do know that these three don’t give a bugger about technology, and I find that rather soothing: