I started out a writer, then bought a IBM PCjr wayyy long ago, for the sole purpose of using it as a word processor. Unfortunately the computer was such a piece of junk that I had to become a computer technician to make it work. Thus, it led me down a path that at first I loved, but after years have come to be desperately sick of.
Recently I walked away from that path. Yet it comes back to haunt me, and I get asked questions … some of which I don’t know the answer to.
Not knowing the answer used to terrify me. In the IT world, it’s a sign of weakness. Unprofessionalism. Uber-geeks are supposed to be all-knowing.
So now someone asks me an uber-geek question and I don’t know it, my initial reaction is to internally panic. Then I realize … NO! I do NOT have to know this anymore!
The flood of relief is intoxicating. I smile. I sometimes even giggle. I tell the hapless audience, “Um, I have no idea. Call the IT department.”
The IT department is in Majokakjhpajhae India. They look at me in horror. “No, please, don’t make me call them.”
“Why not? I have to.”
It’s true. I have to call them as well. I’ve been stripped of my godlike powers over the network. I can do nothing but call, and watch some poor guy on the other side of the world try and figure out why my computer is acting up … I watch them move my mouse around, guessing at things, trying this and that, and all the while I know he’s on the wrong track — and I don’t care that he’s on the wrong track. Because while he’s doing that, I’m on the phone with my fiancee, or I’m working on something on my iPaq. The computer problem is no longer my responsibility.
And that is so sweet.
I’ve started weaning myself off of technical publications, too. Letting subscriptions lapse. Opting out of newsletters. But there’s one I find hard to let go of … I will, eventually … but it’s called Good Morning Silicon Valley. It’s hard to let that one go because those guys think so much like I do.
This morning I was reading about how Microsoft is now starting again to attack the open source community, and it raised my hackles. I thought, jeeze, just when I was starting to like Microsoft, just as I was thinking that, okay, the behemoth has mellowed and was becoming a kinder, gentler monopoly … then something like this. The big beast still lives, with a hunger that still desires to consume the entire world.
But then I step back … and ask myself: why do I care?
I take a deep breath. I sigh. I let it go.
I don’t care. I write for a living now, full time. The computer is now just a tool. I don’t care what operating system is on it. All I care about is that the network connection is live, and the printer works.
I have things to write about. Part A going into Part B. This beer was good, that coffee not so good. This or that gizmo is groovy. Or, especially, how is Jon August going to get away from the succubus that has a lease on this soul?
Goodbye IT world. I know you should never say never, but … I never want to go back. Let it move to India.