A week ago the unthinkable happened: I turned on my computer to find that the screen was black as pitch. Then a little, blue square appeared and in it were the words “no signal detected!” With an exclamation mark, as if this failure to detect a signal was very especially panic-inducing. I tried turning the machine off and then on again. And off and on. And off and on. Off. On.
“No signal detected!”
Something was very wrong, so I made a decision. I would call customer service. Even though that meant making a long-distance phone call with my cell phone, something which most students on a budget tighter than Boy George’s pants in the 80s, would be reluctant to do.
Two minutes later, there I was, sitting on the kitchen chair, staring at my blackened monitor and listening to Shakira sing how fortunate it is that her boobs are tiny so that they’re not mistaken for mountains, occasionally interrupted by a man’s voice saying: “thank you for holding. You will be serviced soon.”
I had a friend once who claimed to have dumped her boyfriend for saying that.
While we waited, Bergerac (my brain) and I started to conjure up images of me pushing setting Shakira’s hair on fire, and just as we were getting really good at creating scenarios, we were interrupted by Bob.
“Hello, this is Bob. How may I help you?”
I explained my problem to Bob and pictured him sitting in his office chair behind a desk with his headset, while nodding solemnly as he listened to me speak.
“I see,” he said after I was done. “Is the computer plugged in?”
The idea that the computer would, in fact, not be plugged in, was so far from my mind, that Bergerac needed some time to mull the question over before I could say yes.
“Are you sure?” asked Bob. I noticed that the tone of his voice never changed. Again I pictured him sitting there, behind his desk, but this time he was Data from Star Trek. And I was standing behind him, arms raised above my head, ready to beat him to death with a mallet.
“No, I’m a dribbling idiot. Of course it’s plugged in,” I said.
“Very well. Please turn the computer off and on and blah, blah, blah.” Said Bob in his ever-unchanging tone of voice.
He didn’t actually say that last bit, but that was what I heard. After much back and forth and blah, blah, blah, it was agreed upon that the computer would go to the computer hospital in Big City.
This immediately brought about another problem: Eggbert (my computer) needed something to travel in. Since I’d thrown out the packaging that the computer originally came in, I needed new stuff. I hadn’t thought that would be too much of a problem, but I completely forgot that everything is a bit complicated when you’re living in Big Hellhole, Hickville. After three hours of wandering the streets, hitting one store after another, I had to admit that it was a lost cause. I would have had an easier time striking gold.
Bob, of course, had secretly scurried down here and abducted all the cardboard boxes and Styrofoam, at the same time erasing people’s memories of them ever being there to begin with. He was being a very naughty little android.
What’s that? Ridiculous? It most certainly is not. However, the idea of living in a town where there is no cardboard or Styrofoam truly is. Now what? Paranoid? How dare you?!?
Moving right along…
Just as I was about to give up, I did manage to get a hold a sack of little marbles-like balls made of Styrofoam, each about the size of 1/2 ping-pong ball. They were crunchy with old age and smelled funny, kinda like Pooch smells when she’s tired. Pooch has smells for everything. But I digress.
I wrapped the ailing Eggbert up in generous amounts of bubble wrap and put him in a cardboard box that I found in the back of my closet. Then I filled it up with ping-pong stink-balls. Finally I closed the lid.
It didn’t fit. Eggbert was too tall, causing an odd looking bump on top of the package. But I didn’t have another box and waiting for Eggbert to shrink or the box to grow seemed like a futile idea. I also noticed that the box itself wasn’t in the very best of shape. It was time for lots and lots of tape. Soon I was whizzing around the box, Styrofoam stinkies flying everywhere and the tape making swooshing noises. When I was somewhat satisfied that the computer would stay put and the box wouldn’t fall apart, the package consisted mostly of tape. I used the whole roll.
Only then did it occur to me that there was no way in hell anyone would be able to get it open again without using some sort of saw. After which they’d be attacked by stinkies loaded full of statical electricity and a merciless taste for technical engineers. But it was too late to turn back now, so I got on my cellphone again and called a cab to take me down to the post office.
There I put Eggbert on the rattling conveyor belt and as he slowly floated down past the black plastic curtains, I hoped that he would be okay and that he’d be home soon to distract me from school work and household chores. Until then I’ll be working on my thesis and picking styrostinkers out of my hair.