The Perils Of Using Other People’s Computers

Sebastian is sitting on the couch in Tobermory’s flat trying to remember what it was he was meant to do that afternoon. Tobermory meanwhile is preparing a sandwich in the kitchen

Sebastian: Can I borrow your laptop for a sec please?

Tobermory: Yeah no worries it’s in my room on my bed I think.

A few moments pass and Sebastian returns with the laptop and sets it down on the table next to the couch, opens it up and switches it on. The Windows start up jingle sounds up normally as the computer loads.  Eventually the mouse icon appears and Sebastian clicks on Microsoft explorer.   Nothing happens so Sebastian tries again.  Bemused but not concerned Sebastian tries Firefox.  When he moves the mouse a strange white line moving from left to right appears leaving a grey horizontal trail behind it on the screen like graffiti. He tries moving the mouse but it has now frozen.  Hmm that’s note ideal says Sebastian under his breath.  Next he tries pressing escape then control alt delete twice but both times to no avail, he then attempts again to move the mouse while clicking randomly to equally negligible visible effect.  …

Sebastian: Errr, Tobe – something has gone wrong with your computer it’s like errr frozen or something and won’t respond.

Tobermory :Frozen? What do you mean it won’t respond?

Sebastian:  Well look, the mouse won’t move and this strange white line has appeared across the screen.

Tobermory Have you tried pressing escape or control alt delete?

Sebastian: Yes – twice it didn’t respond.

Tobermory: Move out of the way for a second I’m going to try something. 

 Sebastian gets up and Tobermory sits down, presses escape and then control alt-delete-repeatedly, each time with more urgency than the last .  Predictably nothing changes except Sebastian has the realisation that Tobermory thinks he is incapable of pressing control alt delete correctly. 

 Sebastian: See?

[If I could explain why the text size enlarges now in such an irritating fashion then maybe I’d be able to fix it – but I can’t so live with it]

 Tobermory: hmm –
Tobermory turns it off then 5 seconds later turns it on again. The screen remains blank for 10 seconds until the dreaded grey horizontal line from earlier appears again. The rest of the screen however remains black. Worryingly the computer; sounding like it’s working on the answer to life the universe and everything is making whirring and clicking sounds and it’s green LED is flickering frantically.  Tobermory’s mood grows darker.Tobermory: What did you do to it?!Sebastian: Nothing, I just turned it on and clicked on explorer

Tobermory: It never does this to me when I turn it on. Did you drop it on the way in here?
Sebastian: No

Tobermory: Did you put it down heavily, like you know; with a thump?

Sebastian: No

Tobermory: I don’t mind if you did, you can tell me, I won’t be annoyed. I’d just rather know that’s all

Sebastian: No, honestly – I just picked it up, put it down carefully, turned it on and clicked on Explorer.

Tobermory: Hmm…..Did you spill water on it?

Sebastian: NO! Look I didn’t drop it, put it down heavily with a “you know – thump”, I didn’t spill water on it and I wasn’t downloading porn, I simply put it down, turned it on and clicked on explorer then it did this. I’m sorry this has happened but that is all I did Okay?

Tobermory: I never mentioned anything about downloading porn. Were you downloading porn? I’ve told you not to do that for precisely this reason…

Sebastian: It was just an example, Tobermory, of one of the myriad of things,  that I know you’re thinking I might have done to it that I didn’t. Now for the last time, I wasn’t downloading porn or doing anything unusual; dropping anything, spilling anything – I just turned it on and clicked on explorer.

Tobermory: Okay okay, I’m just saying that its strange that’s all – I’ve turned it on 1000 times and it’s been fine. Admit it – it’s a bit strange yeah?

Sebastian: Yes it’s strange, odd, and maybe even bizarre but it’s true, now please shut up before I am forced to punch you in the face

Tobermory pauses then thinks better of it and goes to find his phone.  He returns a few moments later cursing.

 Tobermory: My phones dead, can I borrow yours to ring the Dell Helpline?

 Sebastian throws him his phone, Tobermory, caught by surprise only manages to push it into the space in front of him before at the second attempt his clutching right arm knocks it to the floor with a clatter; the battery, back of the phone and sim card go their separate ways.  Tobermory looks at Sebastian with a grimacing smile.  They piece the phone back together and while it looks fine, it stubbornly refuses to switch on nor respond.  After a couple of minutes they give up and silently chain smoke

They remain friends , but to this day Tobermory solemnly refuses to allow Tobermory to even touch his laptop meanwhile Sebastian as revenge has started a cricket team which Tobermory wouldn’t be allowed to join were he to want to


About Paul David Beaumont

Occasional journalist, part-time socialist & full time International Relations PhD student. Available for hire - but never in the morning. Academia page:
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