Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina

This week's blog was going to be about the South Carolina governor, Mark Sanford, who disappeared off to Buenos Aires with his soul mate, leaving behind his wife, kids and constituents who thought he was hiking in the Appalachians.

But things took a dive last Friday, and I'm wiped out, computered-out, fazed out, burnt out and, well, to be perfectly blunt, out of it.

I'd planned to work this weekend. From home and for my salaried job. I stocked up with easy-to-cook food like eggs and canned peaches. I should have ordered canned laughter ... but as they say, rear-vision is 20-20.

Friday night came and suddenly everything went haywire. In the short span of 48 hours I had to

- do my salaried job
- reprogram my phone connection
- redo
- change my personal web-hoster
- set up my new iPod Touch (OK, I didn't HAVE to do that, but it was a NICE THING)
- look after my husband's email and transfer it to somewhere in the Timor Sea


And all this on top of everything else a woman has to do in New York in a weekend.

I tell anyone who cares to listen to me - which is zero, as no one listens to anyone in New York - we just talk, that I hate computers. And that, my friend, is why I am successful in the I.T. industry. For believe it or not, I am.

It all started a hundred years ago, in Bellbrae Australia. Bellbrae is a sleepy little coastal town, not far from Bell's Beach (known affectionately by the ten locals, as "Bell's"), where surfers surf, housewives gossip and men well, men do whatever men do.

My children were both school-age or almost school-age. Supposedly I'd soon have time on my hands. I thought I'd do a course. Post grad. Keep the brain cells synapsing. And I enrolled in a masters by course-work program at the closest university, Deakin.

Although I started off studying for a Masters in Psychology, a weird little new subject intrigued me. "Computer Science 101".

"Yeah, I'll be the mug," I thought. And enrolled.

It was bizarre. This was during the pre-historic, pre-PC age. None of the students had even seen a computer. And if you thought that they'd show us one, well you just weren't around in the heady days of Deakin University's coming-of-age.

We had to write in computer "languages". Stuff like "A$ =1" and "goto label-1". I'd studied French, Latin and Indonesian. Surely I could master this ...

One day, one of the more pro-active students in our little post-grad group asked to "see" the computer. "It's a PDP 11," the instructor sneered at him, but nevertheless escorted him to some strange place forbidden to ordinary mortals. Our fellow student returned. He looked nonplussed.

"Well," we said. "What does it look like?"

"Like a fridge," he said.

We sat there in wonder, and went back to writing stuff like A$ = B$.

Little did I know back then, but my life was at a TURNING POINT.

I passed Computer Science 101 and went on to all sorts of glorious subjects. Subjects like, "Compiler Construction" and "Pascal, ADA and Algol". It's a wonder I didn't fry my brain. Or did I?

But I persevered and when I finished, I ENTERED THE INDUSTRY.

My life has never been the same.

Yeah, I know, I should have taken up surfing. Joined the Bell's crowd and worked for Rip Curl.

But I didn't.

And the upshot is, here I am In Manhattan, surrounded by cables, ATA's, routers, phones that don't work, a very sad iPod thirsty for a song, something called a Garmin Heart monitor, and this morning's breakfast dishes.

I'd write some more, but I just HAVE to get the VoIP phone working. Either that, or buy a ticket to Argentina.

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