For about five years, my computer sat adjacent to the couch in the family room. I could watch news and entertainment and write about it simultaneously.
Well, it's now "that" computer. Windows crashed on me last week, and it may have been the best thing that ever happened. I'm now using the slowest of the slow. (I plan to buy a new Dell as soon as they unlock my account later today).
Which raises the question: You see the problems I have? I know you're wondering how I manage to cope and remain in such good humor.
It turns out that when you try to log into your Dell account and fail six times in a row, they freeze you out for 23 hours. Remind me to ask them why they chose that number. In fact, while I'm at it, why did they choose both numbers? Because 7 is lucky? So they wouldn't be able to screw enough people with that?
Sure, I know what you're thinking, how could any idiot not get the login right in six tries? First off, I'm not any idiot. Then, like you count the number of tries? Why didn't Dell say, "The next one is your last chance?" No, they tell you after they've shocked you into facing reality. Hey, they offer the option of emailing your password, so do you really think I'd just ignore that if I knew the next try would be my last?
Anyway, back to what got me to the point of lockdown in the first place…
It seems like from the earliest time those many years ago when I plugged in what was then my new generic… and already obsolete computer that I noticed an intermittent, funny smell. Periodically, I'd ask the wife if she smelled it too, but she's Filipino, so I couldn't press the matter too much as you know, what with that Manila Dump situation and all.
For some reason, the smell would be gone for days, and then it would "rearomatize." It smelled like low-grade exhaust, and during those times when it lingered, it turns out, I took to breathing very shallowly so as not to inhale too much. It was only recently that I realized I was doing that. I discovered the involuntary phenomenon when I noticed I was doing the same thing in bed.
But two years ago, in the Spring, my eyes started watering and burning, so I went to see the doctor about it and was told that it was hay fever season. Here's a tidbit you may not know: Arizona is terrible for hay fever sufferers. Arizona's also number one in the nation in boats per capita, probably because people with hay fever go boating to get away from the hay.
I told the doctor that I had never had a problem with hay fever, but I was advised that allergies increase as you age. I mentioned that I wish the same thing happened with bank accounts, but it didn't even get a chuckle.
So I started using Claritin, and it seemed to help, but this year, year number 2 if you're keeping count, the watering and the burning were way worse. I felt it was because after we had the coldest Winter ever and the coolest Spring, we're now having the hottest Summer – averaging around 110 for the past month. It's just breaking today, by the way, since the monsoon arrived, so we're only expecting 104 this afternoon, but with much higher humidity.
If you ever want to experience what Miami is like in the Summer, come to Arizona in July. Although it won't be quite the same as I've said a number of times, because thanks to President Polk, we don't have a seacoast.
Anyway, because of the much higher than usual temperatures, I put an extra drape over the sliding door in the family room, and this effectively blocked the heat – and air movement. And within a short time, my eyes were tearing like never before, so it's a good thing I rarely wear mascara.
I couldn't get it to stop, and the Claratin said not to take more than one every 24 hours, so I didn't. Alavert also had the same warning. Luckily for me, they didn't warn not to take both together…
To my astonishment, this didn't even help.
You know what did… ?
Rather than reinstall it, I was pressed for time and so I simply switched computers… and about three days later, my eyes stopped burning. They still water a bit, but it's allergy season, after all!
But there's more…
For years, I could only sleep on my left side, and I've seen specialists about the fact that I could hardly breathe out of my left nostril.
"Doc, I gasp on my right side, but not on my left…?"
Doc: "So you think maybe the right side is scarier… ?"
When I'd roll onto my right side, I'd wake up trying to breathe. So besides the aforementioned allergy suggestions, two docs wanted to do a sleep study, which I refused, preferring to choke to death rather than drive ten miles to get involved in a cocoon of wires and then be told I needed to be hooked up to a compressor for the rest of my life.
I even went to a cardiologist who also pressed me to do the sleep study, saying that I had a fifty percent higher risk of dying if I didn't get the sleep apnea corrected.
"A hundred and fifty percent, Doc? Life ain't fair"
So what could I do then? I went home and started to get my affairs in order, that's what.
And even that's not all…
In addition to not being able to breathe and looking like I was crying a lot, I was also completely exhausted no matter how much sleep I got. This, too, prompted Heartdoc to tell me it was another consequence of sleep apnea, and if there was anything worse than a fifty percent greater risk of dying, it was dying in bed, in my sleep… still completely exhausted. I heard a rumor that you can't even get into heaven when that happens?!?
Well, at least I don't have to worry anymore. After replacing the computer, it's a week later, and I can breathe again and I don't wake up exhausted. All of the symptoms of sleep apnea are gone. I don't even scream at Billy Mays and the Cox Whores as much. Although that improvement hasn't extended to Bush, so he really may be as bad as I think he is.
But no, I didn't write all that just to take a cheap shot at the President, I wrote it to show that it's true what they say – that computers cause as many problems as they solve. Maybe more. I mean, could what I've described have happened with a typewriter?
Then I wouldn't have had to write this… and you wouldn't have to read it…
See how computers increase workloads for everyone? And all because Whiteout wasn't elegant?