’Way back in 2011 I speculated that my electronic devices might be alive, and maybe even moderately sentient. Today I’m here to tell you: Not only are my electronic devices alive; they’re also drama queens.
At first I thought they were merely minor chaotic evil. Imps, if you will. Not smart enough to develop an organized attack; only aware enough to grind to a halt when they sensed I really needed them to work.
But I was wrong. Lately my electronic devices have undertaken a passive-aggressive campaign to demand all my attention while making it clear that they’re the ones in charge. (’Scuse the electronic pun.)
First my laptop’s CD drive started whining at me: Making that small annoying “rrr-EEE-rr” sound that indicates it’s spinning up a CD. But there was no CD in the drive. And it wouldn’t stop. I finally gave up on fixing it and left the CD tray permanently unlatched.
Thwarted, the laptop began its next micro-aggression: Randomly jumping around in my document when scrolling. It would work fine for a while; and then I’d scroll down in Chapter 22 and suddenly find myself in Chapter 3. Or 10. Or…?
Fine. I started using the Page Up/Page Down keys instead of scrolling on the touchpad.
I could practically hear its thoughts: “What?!? Well, I’ll fix you.”
So it started flipping to battery power without warning, even though it’s plugged in. I wiggle the cord and it goes back to wall power. Then it switches back to battery for no apparent reason. Wiggle the cord: Wall power. Then battery again. I reach for the cord again, but this time it coyly switches back to wall power before I can touch it. It’s a relatively minor annoyance; but it gets my attention, which was apparently the goal.
The laptop is old, so I’ve been putting up with its quirks; but in retrospect that may have been a mistake. Now it’s infecting my other devices with its bad attitude.
My Kindle has developed a similar intermittent issue with its charging cord. And sometimes it stalls in the middle of a book and reboots, only to reopen the book in a completely different place. The Kindle is supposed to remember how far you’ve read, but mine doesn’t. Profanity ensues.
Sometimes, the Kindle won’t start at all; it just shows me an obstinate lock screen. It takes at least five minutes to recover and reboot from that; and it won’t always do it on the first try. (Because why would it pass up an opportunity to show me who’s really the boss?)
Clearly I should have disciplined the laptop before it could become a bad influence, because lately my desktop computer has been getting into the act with random reboot errors, too.
I don’t know where all this will end, but the escalation is making me nervous. If you see headlines about a woman who died in a bizarre mishap caused by simultaneous electric shocks from three separate devices, you’ll know what happened.
Meanwhile, I’ll be over here trying to placate my laptop…
Book 17 update: I’m on Chapter 37, and things are getting explosive… literally!