Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Am The Twenty-First Century

I did something last night I'm not sure I've ever done before: I experienced a moment of penis envy.

I'd had an internal tv tuner sitting in its box in my home office for six months, and a couple of weeks ago it finally began to annoy me. It was moldering there--this very cool gadget of which I did actively pursue ownership--since July. So I followed Standard Operating Procedure for getting something done at my house:

1) Wait six months.

2) If task involves computer hardware or climbing into attic, harass husband about wanting it done.

2a) Attempt to frighten husband into compliance by breezing through house with hammer and asking, "Hey, do you know what a PCI slot looks like?"

3) Repeat at irregular intervals for approximately two weeks, and then remember that I am a grown person living in the 21st century and I should do it my damn self.

Unfortunately, the first line of the instructions (composed of language reminiscent of English but somehow not quite bringing it into focus as such) ordered me to "open computer case." Ugh. Only two months ago I had sworn never to violate my computer that way again. We bought ourselves a nice fancy new Dell in October, and by Thanksgiving it was doubleplusfucked. Of course. So I got on the phone with a lovely woman in India (who introduced herself as, like, "Mary" or something) and I swear she was either an actual saint or gloriously stoned. Someone email me, please, if you know the answer to this question, and I'm being serious: Are there programs out there for people who take calls from electronics sufferers? Courses on "Consumer Rage Pathology" and support groups for those who actually hear the gun go off during the call? Because the fabulous Mary had a demeanor that could coax anyone down from the ledge.

Our time together began with her asking me to "open computer case" and locate the memory sticks. (Me: "Ummmm. . . ") Quickly ascertaining what she was dealing with, she backed up and asked me if I could see the motherboard. ("I don't know, can I? Is it in this thing that I opened?") I swear I kept expecting her to say "fuck this," hang up on me, and hit the nearest bar, and lord knows I wouldn't have blamed her, but TWO HOURS LATER she was still with me, and you would never know from listening to her that she had just spent two hours with an imbecile who followed her every patient instruction with, "Um, OK--hold on. . ." [phone clatters to floor] [rustling and banging sounds] "Ouch!" and [muffled] "you COCKSUCKER."

At one point I asked her, "Don't you get tired of talking to morons all day?" She answered with a hilariously earnest, "You're doing just fine." God, it was funny--so sincere. Anyway, in the end she had to send a technician out to replace our memory, but I appreciate her serene help.

I didn't want to open computer case again, though, especially not all alone. But we're talking about television here, and screen caps of Judge Judy litigants, so I steeled myself. And once I peered in I saw. . . the only place my tuner card could possibly fit. And then I noted how I could slide this cover thing out so the jacks on the tuner card would be accessible once it was in. I took a deep breath, aligned the card with the slot, and shoved that mother in there until I heard "CLICK."

Oh, wow, that was satisfying.

Today, of course, since nothing can just work the way it's supposed to out of the gate, I have to make another visit to Radio Shack to find an adapter that will allow me to hook up the antenna. I don't care, though, because at least that bitch is IN.


At 5:50 PM, Anonymous dan didact said...

they don't call it penis envy for nothin

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous dan didact said...

okay so that last comment is not profound. i got called away fore i could finish. i was just saying that having your own private fire hose to wave around is the coolest thing. almost like farehenhiet 451 you start the fire and put it out. wasn't that a greek play, something about which one men or women have the better plumbing and hotter wiring? i was probably the dimmest bulb in the classroom, but i did finish college. thinking back to psych class i'm thinking that what freud meant by "penis envy" is how i define it. wrote a paper on it a couple of years ago. looked him up on wakapudia. said that he really wanted to call his conception of penis envy, "to have and have not" but that hemingway already had dibs on the title.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Shell said...

Ha!--"fire hose"

I linked the title to a feminist reading of penis envy, and my students always get into that conversation, about how Freud is making observations based on his Victorian culture so, yeah, lots of women probably did wish they could be men back then--why wouldn't they? Freud did say something like "female sexuality is a sexuality of absence not presence," which always cracks me up for some (surely sick) reason.

Thanks for the great comment, Dan FireHose!

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for some reason all this brings out the pagan in me. i want to raise the maypole and frolic in the sun with a wild-souled nymph....

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Ha! This post is worth it's paper just for the use of newspeak. We need more goodthinkful posts like this one.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Shell said...

You know what's really odd? I have no idea why "doubleplusfucked" is what came out of me at that moment. In fact, I almost changed it, thinking that it didn't go with anything else in the piece, but I couldn't do it because that was the absolute most accurate description of my computer, damn it. Again, I have no idea why. Glad you liked it, though! :)


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