Not the type to sulk

20th October 1995 at 01:00
There has been a strange feeling of unease in the household this week, nothing you could put your finger on, just that vague acknowledgement that something hasn't been quite right. Nobody's been ill, but the computer has had a slight touch of amnesia.

It was fine when we put it to bed with its anti-dust cover, but the next day it lost its memory and could not handle its hard disc. At first we weren't sure whether it was puberty or an early menopause, then we were almost convinced it was terminal, if you will pardon the expression.

All week people have been thrusting strange words in our hands, little phrases with incantations ending in "dos". None had any effect, but were representative of that strange challenge that any mute piece of technology offers to the amateur.

I was never all that keen on a computer. I was quite happy with the typewriter. As long as it was there, however, it did seem a little unfriendly not to use it. I was quite sure it was a case of take it or leave it until I did not have the option. Then the problem started.

It is amazing how many things I thought I could have done on it this week: the minutes for the last departmental meeting, (they don't have quite the same panache when they are hand-written), the word list for Year 8 homework, while the notes for the next curriculum steering meeting look so much better when they are word-processed.

All week it has sat there, saying absolutely nothing, not even acknowledging its name.

Now it's back, fully-adjusted and confident with its own identity, I had to write this because I couldn't think of a single job I needed to do. Until the next time it has an identity crisis.

Sheila Hunter is acting joint head of English at Sir Frederic Osborn School, Hertfordshire.

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