Install Never

What are the two most hated words in all of computerdom? No, they’re not: Fatal Error. They are: Update Available. It took me months of experimentation to arrive at the perfect combination of computer presets, and a system update can wipe them out in twenty seconds.

Hey, give me twenty seconds alone with that tech-giant bully and I’ll shove his pushy Update Available to a very dark place where he can never hurt any of us again.

Separately those seemingly innocent words do not raise a red flag, or any color flag for that matter, but together they make my brain shout Noooo!

Just before it explodes.

Yesterday those words appeared on my screen with this added message: “A security and stability update has been downloaded and is ready to be installed.” It left me two options: Install Now or Install Later. How about Install Never? Why is Never never a choice? Continue reading “Install Never”

The Key Graveyard

In a fall cleaning frenzy, I tackled my kitchen junk drawer. I chucked expired coupons, dozens of plastic bread ties that I’d saved in case of a severe bread-tie shortage, and handfuls of dried out rubber bands that broke when stretched. Then I ran across a box of old keys.

Hmmm? I lined them up on the kitchen counter. There were nine car keys, which was odd, because in my life, I’d only owned four cars.

I found the spare key to my 1968 Ford Falcon. Three on the tree, pull-out choke on the dash. I bought it used for $200, drove it for three years, and sold it for $250. I couldn’t find the spare key for the new owner, so I’d had a copy made. It cost 35 cents. Today a new key is $200—the same price as this entire car.

I found the key to my first new car. A 1976 Toyota Corolla, which ironically, got keyed the first day I parked it at work. It was Rah! Rah! Bicentennial! Buy American year!

Here was the key to my old boyfriend’s house. We broke up two decades ago when I ‘d found another woman’s underwear tangled in the bed sheets. “Oh, those belong to my fiancée,” he’d said, having never mentioned a fiancée before. It made me wonder if saving this key qualified me as a masochist. Continue reading “The Key Graveyard”

Kitchen Rules

If you are what you eat, then I’m fast, cheap, and easy. But, I can live with that. What I can’t live with—yet have been forced to endure—is a messy kitchen. Every day I wonder how my sacred space ends up looking like a before photo on a hoarding show. Well, not quite that bad, but you get the idea. And the ironic part is that I’m a very neat person. Not up to the tidiness level of OCD—I don’t bleach grout with Clorox and Q-Tips—but I wipe counters, wash dishes, and scour sinks. So why is my kitchen always stained with a Rorschach test of drips, spills, and splashes?

Let me answer this question in one word: Husband.

My husband is a messy guy. He doesn’t mean to be; it just comes naturally, like snoring. I’ve lived with this for over thirty years—the messiness, not the snoring; that was cued with a C-Pap machine—yet still I insist on believing that I can retrain him when I know, deep down in my heart, that this bit of wisdom is true: Shoes don’t stretch and men don’t change. Continue reading “Kitchen Rules”

The Theory of Time

All time is relative, as demonstrated by one of its ruling principles, Tallman’s Theory of Relatives. It states that each day your relatives visit, actually lasts for 30 days. This explains why your crazy mother-in-law’s three-day stay feels like three months.

This abstract and somewhat fluid concept of time may confuse you; so let me clarify. Time exists on two parallel planes: real time and perceived time. This can be demonstrated when my alarm clock goes off at 7:00 am, and I close my eyes for five minutes. But when I open them again, it’s 8:45.

Perceived time is a paradox, as illustrated by this opposite example. At work when it’s 3:30, I close my eyes for five minutes, and when I open them again, it’s still 3:30. This sub-principle is known as The Microwave Misconception, derived from the doctrine that states: Microwave Minutes, or MM, are, in actuality, longer than Actual Minutes, or AM. So when expressing this mathematically, remember that MM is always less than AM.

For proof, I give you Tallman’s Theory of Toaster Waffles. I’ve viewed countless displays of this thesis, which states that, though it should take five minutes to toast a waffle, it will, in actuality, take one hour. Longer if you’re really hungry. Continue reading “The Theory of Time”

Finding Doric

Being a bit obsessive, I unpack as soon as I return from a trip. After my last trip, I opened my suitcase and there it was, what we all hate to see: a TSA Notice of Baggage Inspection. Yes, strangers have pillaged my panties and bandied my brassieres. The notice said, “To protect you and your fellow passengers, the TSA is required by law to inspect all checked baggage.” Yet, this is not reassuring; it’s icky. No amount of Tide can wash away that violated feeling.

 The notice also said, “At the completion of the inspection, the contents were returned to your bag.” Really? I thought, picking up an unknown shoe. The TSA believes I travel with—not a pair—but with one gladiator sandal. Maybe they should amend that notice to read, “And if we can’t figure out where an item goes, we will randomly toss it into the nearest suitcase.”

Continue reading “Finding Doric”