The enemy

            Most of the people in my generation complain of the rapid pace of progress in technology.  On my new laptop there seems to be 13 updates in one day, and then 14 the next, for instance.  But as someone Deaf-blind, I find the effort to keep up with the racing changes daunting.

            Until this past Monday, my new laptop was the enemy in the household.  It sat on a table beside my old desktop, mocking me.  And since it has the software to speak, it taunted me, day and night.  Windows 7, Word 10, JAWS 13, Open Book 8 or 9, IE 400—they all said, “Just try to conquer me.”

            Once from downstairs I heard the thing talking and carrying on in my third floor office, when I was sure I’d turned it off the night before.  I approached it warily, hit some keys gingerly, and it fell silent. 

            “Okay,” I thought.  “My kids pulled this years ago.  Don’t think you’re so clever!”

            I’d call, “Nap time,” and they’d go into hiding.  I found my 10-month old standing in his closet, his shoulders to his ears, tensed to keep any muscle from making a sound.  My daughter used to take her shoes with bells through the laces off.

            “My guide dog even did it to avoid punishment,” I told the laptop.  “So don’t think you’re so clever.”

            It did the HP version of a hiccup.

            “Ha!  Gotcha!”  I pushed the keystrokes to shut it down.

            It rattled of in rapid fire verbiage, ridiculing me once again.

            “Don’t make me have to push your button,” I warned.


            I pushed.  It spouted more techie jargon.  I freaked, pushed every key I knew, and finally searched for a hammer.

            Then I heard the familiar mournful sigh of the shutting down for bed, the percussion that means it’s brushing its teeth, and then the blessed silence.  Good night.

            But on Monday I made progress, “progress” I repeat, so the laptop can hear.  “From now on, you will not rule me!  I will prevail.”

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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