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Yellow Tulips

Losing It 
By Maggie Turner  

Saturday, May 6, 2000

Losing It

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This entry is very late, very, very late. The dawn is approaching, I am writing to clear the slate for today. Yesterday was hectic; lessons were learned, humility granted. Yesterday was a day of loss and realizations. I am writing this as yesterday, you are reading this as today.

"The Teenager" arose early and immediately started up her computer. It would not boot. Curses! That dratted ICQ was the root of the problem. Or rather a person(s), using it as an opportunity, decided to flex their mental muscle by sabotaging the computer of a non-nerd. The ICQ software installation does warn of possible security problems, they are not kidding. I guess it is a "macho" thing. Either you "work out" with the program and practice "self-defense" or you are a "techno-wimp" and do not have the right to use the program. It only takes one apple with this kind of attitude to spoil the bushel.

Having changed her password and written nasty messages to her friends, this individual proceeded to cause havoc with the operating system of the computer. This is the intellectual version of a scene I witnessed years ago, when two teenagers on the street, were chasing a squirrel and attempting to stomp on its head, both laughing hysterically. The squirrel escaped, the teenagers remained imprisoned within their ignorance.

I am glad that society is beginning to regard computers and Internet communication as something other than toys that children (or others with small lives) can destroy without sanction. I hope that the cult of the "genius child in the basement" has run its course. I do not think society need value the intellect of those who would use it to inflict harm on others. Perhaps the computer science departments at our universities need to consider teaching ethics in a serious way. The last curriculum I looked at did not include a strong element related to ethics.

Meanwhile, at home, ICQ has been removed; the operating system reinstalled and the teenager is back in business, until the next attack.

I did not receive an "ILOVEYOU" e-mail. The virus that swept continents passed me by. Perhaps fate decided to go gently with me, knowing the torment that ICQ was about to inflict. Whatever the reason, this virus did not show up in my mailbox. I might even have opened it if it had, depending on who sent it. You win some; you lose some.

Needing to reinstall Windows led me on a search for the Windows CD. It was lost and not to be found. I looked in all the usual places, the CDROM drives in the computers and the boxes where I keep diskettes, and junk related to each computer. Luckily, "The Teenager" was home. The CD had been in the drive of her computer. Wanting to use a different CD she removed the Windows CD and placed it in a jewel case along with "Journey to the Planets". Not the first place I would have looked.

Every spring our driveway is blanketed with a soft green layer of catkins, from the maple tree beside it. It is very pretty. Unfortunately these catkins cling to the bottoms of shoes and find their way into the house. Today my project was to use my new Shop Vac to blow the catkins into a pile and remove them with a shovel. Since the day was predicted to be hot, I decided to do the job early. Attila's vehicle was gone; he had left for work around daylight. I moved the car to the street, clearing the driveway of vehicles.

A few hours later I had collected two bushels of catkins for the compost. The maple tree, with the help of the wind, was providing a fresh carpet.

Later in the day, I decided to move the car back into our driveway. I could not find the car key. This was very strange. I am a creature of habit and I always put my keys in my left overall pocket. The key was not in my pocket. It was not on the kitchen table. It was not on my desk. The key was lost. The key is still lost.

I found this very disturbing. I hate to lose things. This is probably related to the fact that I am very absentminded. I spend a lot of my time thinking about all kinds of things. The things my mind focuses on do not seem to include things like keys, eyeglasses, or coffee mugs. I rely heavily on routine. I depend upon routine to compensate for my lack of focus on daily activities. I know where things should be. I am lost when things are not where they should be.

Attila helped me to look for the key when he came home from work. I thought that perhaps his eye would catch what mine had missed. He could not find the key.

I have asked the key, very politely, to come home. I said please. I know that one-day I will find that key and wonder why I put it where I did. I hope that day comes sooner than later. I am humbled by my human weakness.

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