Home » Backpacking in Thailand » Lost in translation

Lost in translation

The junior beanbags at Microsoft have struck again.

I suppose I should be getting used to them hijacking this, my li’l laptop, every now and again at the most inconvenient of moments to upload or download or (in antiquated parlance) transfer their little patches, without asking politely first.

‘Do not switch off your computer’… well, okay, let’s agree. It isn’t ‘my’ computer, I only paid for it, and for the two replacement hard drives it has gone through. As long as it runs on your unreliable software, how could I possibly believe I own it?

So for a change I’m not going to whine about US imperialism.

But something rather odd seems to have happened, and I wonder if you beanbags have an answer to it?

From time to time, I may power down the computer and toddle off to bed, only to find when I wake up next morning that someone has seemingly visited us in the night, and changed all the settings. Odd, because only I (and of course li’l Hunzi, and Scat the Cat, my expensive guitar and Avi the Avocado tree) live here, and the room is locked every time I go out – which is, like, whenever I’m not in the room. E.g., at bedtime.

Last night the sun set on Boglington-on-Sea, where we live, here in West Wales; and rose this morning on a different part of the world. Hello, New York! I see it’s minus one degree here. Brrr. Also, my birthday has changed (yet again). I am no longer Libra, the indecisive, beauty-chasing dilettante; I am Aquarius, the soppy water-bringer.

And then there’s the screen display. It’s not quite the same resolution. Something’s different, I just can’t say what. It’s making me itch.

On other occasions, I may find that I shut down the computer on a full-screen image. Yet when I power up again in the morning, there’s my desktop, and I click on Firefox, and up comes my default page, only everything has been shrunk into a tiny window, that I am obliged to expand.

Okay, your government may be bombing you to bits. You haven’t seen food or clean water in a month. You got a tax bill that is giving you heartburn. Your doctor gave you the bad news. You had unexpected sextuplets. The wheel came off your car. Your shoes are leaking. You got Chikungunya virus off a mosquito at Disneyworld. Your wife ran off with the insurance man. Nothing will seemingly unblock your sink. The boat went down and you’re in the water. They’re laying people off at the foundry. The ATM told you you could take out £0. There’s three feet of snow on the drive. The train was full. You didn’t get a raise.

And I had to expand my little Windows window, that shrank mysteriously in the night. It’s a hard life, but a perplexing one.

For instance, the other day I Posted, slightly tongue-in-cheek, that no-one was taking any notice of me anymore. All communication with the outside world had inexplicably ceased. No-one was reading my Posts. Only three people in the past week had even been on my Pages. Boo hoo.

Nor was I getting the usual volume of Spam emails on Yahoo!. I had become used to dumping forty or fifty a day. I’ve bogled before about how the subjects of the Spam emails bear an uncanny relationship to stuff I’ve recently bogled about. I mention money, eager lenders start sending me news of loans and investment opportunities. I refer to my car, I get car leasing deals. Mention of my advancing years produces Seniors Discounts.

But last week, even Spam slowed to a bare trickle. Until, that is, I bogled my feeling of isolation (which has produced numerous fresh proposals from dating sites).

And the next day, messages started to flood in. Likes, Comments… I even gained a Follower, number 28! And today I woke up to find fifteen emails on my phone, all from commercial sources I have no intention of replying to, even if I could; yet not really junk. Job opportunities (most completely off-target). Requests to sign petitions. The persistent PR lady at the advisory service that puts the ‘age’ in ‘mortgages’, with whom I once unwisely communed.

But it is not all internet related. Since I Posted last week about how the world appeared to have forgotten me, I have had mail every day, increasing volumes of it, most of it junk circulars bearing irresistible offers of cheap stuff from chain retailers; local Advertiser-type free media – and, of course, bank statements galore. (Bogler’s Law: The volume of correspondence you get from banks being in inverse proportion to the size of your bank balance.)

So while I am not by and large dealing with humans anymore, it is as if a dam of blocked communications has burst. Or, to find a more apposite metaphysic on which to speculate, it is as if the drain outside my kitchen, that has been blocked for a week with years’ worth of old coffee-grounds and overflows with brown scum into the yard whenever I wash-up or take a shower, had suddenly flushed itself through.

Only, despite gallons of Jeyes Fluid and the administration of my normally efficient sink-plunger, it hasn’t.

Your advice, then, would be to get out, do more. Maybe cut down a little on the wine. Stop scouring the TV schedules in vain for anything fresh and interesting, it’s only depressing you. Try reading a book (so many to choose from!). Take up a hobby. Go cycling. Find an attractive partner.

I know, I know. I look to the heavily beringed soothsayer, Russell Grant, every day for that kind of advice. He keeps telling me: stop frittering your money away, or get a highly paid job (it may take time but will be worth it). Find a new partner (curiously, his insistence has lately been that it should be someone with whom I agree on almost nothing. Not another one, surely?). Surround yourself with beautiful and useful things (highly paid job first required).

But today I’ve been relocated to the city that never sleeps, New York, New York. And he’s given up trying to advise me on the Libran lifestyle. Today I’m Aquarius. What is that like, I wonder? Boringly, I am apparently quite popular and will receive a lot of invitations (I have been. But I can’t afford to buy more stuff.). I have a sense of fun. I work hard (oh, I do!) and need an outlet for stress. More…

Doesn’t seem at all like me.








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