I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike... <BR>(and other ramblings): I'm A Dirty Computer Whore

I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike...
(and other ramblings)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I'm A Dirty Computer Whore

Or, at least, that's how I felt when I had a technician from Nerds on Site come by to assess my spyware-ridden computer.

My computer and I have had a long and strenuous love-hate relationship, much like I've had with many exes. We go through phases of unadulterated good times, and then I do something wrong and it's suddenly giving me the cold shoulder. I think the worst of our times together was when I kept crashing the computer every six months by seemingly doing nothing, and then took a nap to assuage my guilt. But despite our tumulus ups and downs (and occasional swearing and hefty repair bills), I'd always keep coming back for more. I went from a girl who had one e-mail address that she checked once a month to a download addict with about a million bookmarks in my IE favourites.

That's why it's not surprising that I finally caught something. The keywords of the day are "download" and "IE," which everyone knows is like Kryptonite to your computer. I didn't listen, though. I never listen. And this is what happens.

My computer hasn't been infected for a long time, but when I saw strange things popping up and saying hi on my task manager every few days, I knew I had something wickedly potent. I've dealt with worse things (at work, our network was once overrun with a MyDoom virus, which proceeded to wipe out documents on my computer in real time, as I sat and watched helplessly -- now that's some freaky stuff) but never at home. After hyperventilating for a while, I tried to see what I could do. Since I'm not a computer technician by any means, this lasted a whole five minutes. I hugged my computer and whispered sweet nothings. That didn't work either. That's when I knew that it was time to call for some back-up.

The technician came over this afternoon and got down to business. This is not shocking considering that I make very lame jokes when attempting small talk with strangers, so I would have ignored me too. He went through my program files and asked me about a couple that he didn't recognize. And, for some neurotic reason, it made me a little nervous and defensive. I felt like he was reading my ninth grade diary here. All of my innermost thoughts, transformed into computer files, were now privy to this stranger's eyes, and I had to explain and rationalize why I had a copy of The Sims installed. Shortly after, the inquisition began when he asked me about licenses for various copyrighted programs. I had a very good feeling that my boyfriend, who had surprised me with my brand spankin' new (and now infected) hard drive, had "overlooked" some of this while installing my programs and anti-virus software. I hemmed and hawed unconvincingly, and the technician gave me a knowing glare before moving on. "Please don't tell on me," I tried to plead with my eyes. Yes, I am one of those people who always irrationally thinks that the cops parked at the end of the block are looking for her.

A little while later, we had another pleasant exchange.

"You have some spyware on here," he said, a little accusingly. I felt like I had been branded with a giant "A" and the townsfolk were getting ready to stone me. Yes, my computer was dirty, and as an extension, so was I.
"I know," I replied. "Is it bad?"
"It's very bad," he said, narrowing his eyes, as if I had just asked him if he would like to watch Save The Last Dance with me.
"Please don't judge me."

Then he lectured me for about half an hour on why my computer habits suck. I don't especially enjoy being lectured and talked to, but I nodded and listened because I wanted him to finish his berating and get to fixing my computer. Because, you know, I paid for his services, not his lecturing skills. This felt like the time I went to the dentist and he presented me with a giant prop of a mouth and an even bigger prop of a toothbrush and explained how people should be brushing their teeth. (I'm really starting to see a trend here, and I think it has everything to do with me.)

At one point, and apropos to nothing, he told me that liked Chinese food. So it seems that we are both very bad at small talk.

An hour and a half later, the technician was done with his thorough scan of my hard drive. The diagnosis? Everything that could possibly harm a computer is apparently now inhabiting my computer; to top things off, he also told me that my drive was making funky sounds and something might be scratching the disk. I almost expected him to tell me that, furthermore, my computer was housing weapons of mass destruction, but he probably figured that I had heard enough bad news for the day. His recommendation was to wipe my hard drive clean and start all over again.

So, another (very short) era has passed, and now I must bid good-bye to my computer yet once again. This pains me to no end because I've grown overly dependent on it for everything short of mowing my lawn.

Perhaps we'll meet again later, but for now, I have to let it go. But we'll always have our memories of obsessive viewings of "The Office" and late-night drunken e-mails.

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