The past couple of weeks have had some big ups and downs for me. The ups included going to Delaware and having lunch at Bun’s, and the downs were all wrapped up in just one thing — my computer.
When it doesn’t work, I am frustrated because I know nothing about how to fix it. Maybe if I were an elementary school student, or even younger, I could fix it like they seem to be able to do.
They just hit a few keys and it’s up and running again! You may be thinking that I should have taken some computer classes while in school. Well, I did, but no one would ever believe it. My problem is that the only thing I remember about those classes is that I learned how to program a cash register for a major grocery store. I learned nothing about fixing one.
The first time a computer and I were alone in the same room together was two weeks before I left my job at OWU. That’s when one was delivered to my office and put on a table to the right of my desk. That happened the last week before Christmas in 1988. When it was unpacked, it looked to me like it was ready to be turned on. But, no one said anything about it, so I continued on with my work, using my “correcting selectric” typewriter. (I loved that typewriter! I bragged that I could type as fast as I could talk, or was it that I could type and talk at the same time? Well, one of those anyway.) And for the next many days to come, the computer just sat there with that “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” look about it. I thought someone from somewhere would appear and say something about it, but no one ever did. I’m sure it was because we were in a very busy time with closing out the semester. So, it just sat there collecting dust for the rest of my days at that job.
When the new year of 1989 began, I was off and running, beginning my new job at the courthouse. The days of having a computerized office had not yet begun. In fact, it didn’t begin for another whole year. It was on the very first day of 1990 when my world changed and I was a part of that paperless office everyone used to talk about. We were off and running
with a brand new computer system. But the “paperless part” didn’t take place in our office for a very long time. We had paper everywhere! That’s because, at the beginning of using our computers, we didn’t trust them enough to believe that they would really do the job correctly. So, we took paper copies of everything before we let the original documents go out of the office.
At the end of 2004, after 16 years of having all the help I needed with my computer problems, I retired. This meant that I was home alone, at my new desk, with my new computer, but no live person to come and fix it at the necessary times. I ended up with a love/hate relationship with my home desktop computer. I loved it when it was working, but hated it
when it wasn’t. Dealing with a support system over the phone leaves much to be desired for me. My phone calls lasted as much as two hours. Oh, for the good old days back when I had my “correcting selectric” typewriter to use! I remember a whole generation of working persons when everything was done on a typewriter. We didn’t have such things as “updates” that came along far too often. You were able to go from job to job and not have to learn a whole new system when all we had were typewriters. Those were the days!
Knowing that I have such a love/hate relationship with this computer, you may wonder how it is that I am typing this article. Right now I am loving it, but one more time of it not working, whether it won’t backspace, or if the correcting procedure is fowled up, or, heaven forbid, it won’t even turn on, it’s going to be toast!
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.