Archive for ‘May, 2012’
Usually they ask about the delivery charge (with which I buy gas and which is therefore not a tip). I’m not sure who she thought the tip would otherwise go to.
(Photo taken pre-burninating. I have since developed PTBD: post-traumatic bacon disorder.)
It’s getting harder for me to tread carefully around my dear friend, That One Guy, hence the photo.
For the lulz, here is how my day went this past Tuesday:
On my way to work, I got a call from him. He said that he sure could use my help to download and install some programs that he needed for his new job, and if there was any way I could come by sometime, there’d be cash money in it for me. The magic words “cash money” were music to my ears, and I said so, reminding him that I’m still having a lot of trouble making ends meet, so I’d be happy to put my canvassing on hold and come over to help him download whatever it was. I knew all too well that it would never, ever be that simple, because it never is with That One Guy, but he and his wife are truly dear friends of mine, they’re my family, I love them, and I was glad to hear that he’d gotten a job. And he promised me cash money. So I headed over to their house.
Upon arriving I found that he wanted me to download some “software” (read: some Excel spreadsheets and PDFs) from a site that had provided a handy printout with step-by-step instructions for how to download and use the stuff, but my dear friend couldn’t tell whether he had downloaded it or not and needed me to make sure. The morning was punctuated by him calling his contact at his new employer and having an excruciating speakerphone conversation with the poor guy who clearly was having as much trouble as I was keeping the “DUH” out of his voice while addressing my friend.
And then while I was busy downloading, unzipping, and arranging his new “software” on his desktop where he wouldn’t forget where it was, this happened.
Sometimes I feel like a dentist who naively thinks I’m just seeing this patient for a routine cleaning but he shows up with three broken crowns and expects me to fix it all up in the same allotted time.
Anyway, the situation was that my friend hadn’t been getting emails on his smartphone for over a week. It was chock full of failed login messages. However, he was still logged in to Gmail on his laptop, and he swore up and down that he hadn’t changed his password, at least he didn’t think he had, so it appeared that it had just gotten munged on his phone somehow. And then it turned out that his other Gmail account, that was on the same phone, had been getting failed logins too, and he hadn’t noticed. Two accounts, suddenly inaccessible, only on the phone, somehow, for some reason.
You might be thinking (shades of Tales of the BossLady here), “What’s the big deal, just use the ‘forgot password’ feature and reset the passwords, end of problem.” And that is, in fact, what we did, but it took me AN HOUR, including trying and failing to find the legal pad he had diligently written his passwords on the last time I went through this nightmare with him. And I wish I could convey the tone he used when he said “No” after I asked him if he remembered his password. It was almost playful. Like, “Come on, C, we both know I can’t remember passwords, why are you even asking? Just do what you always do and make it right for me. Tee hee.” The tone put me right off, and while I did do what I always do, I did it with a touch of grim resentment that I don’t usually show to my friend.
First we had to do the password reset on both accounts. That part was relatively simple. We did it via text message, and he managed to read me the reset codes without too much difficulty, albeit having to search around for his glasses because he wouldn’t let go of the phone and just let me do it.
Then we had to pick two entirely new passwords, and they had to be passwords he hadn’t used before, and they had to be long enough. This took quite a while because he kept picking ones that were too short, or were the same as an old password, or were the same as his username(!!!). I had to double-check his security question on both accounts, make sure he remembered the answers, and make sure the alternate emails were accessible by him and not his wife’s email which she literally never checks and probably does not know how to.
I had to FORCE him to write the new passwords down. I had to repeat myself, several times: “Here’s a pen. Take the pen. Write them down. Write them down now. Write them down RIGHT NOW.”
Then, he assumed we were finished. “So they’ll be fixed on my phone now?” Um, no, because the whole reason we had to reset the passwords was so that we could change them on his phone where they had gotten somehow screwed up, a fact which I pointed out to him with some acidity. Since he couldn’t remember his passwords, we had to make new passwords, passwords that we know, so that we could put them in his phone.
(As a side note, whenever I’m helping somebody with their email or other password-protected stuff, I deliberately don’t remember their passwords. It’s just my personal policy. I don’t like knowing other people’s passwords, in part because it can sometimes make them distrust me, in other part because when I know them I’m responsible for them. That One Guy, of course, put his paper away right after the password-generating exercise and was chagrined when I made him dig it back out to read them to me so I could put them in his phone. “Good thing we wrote ‘em down, huh?” Yeah.)
Additionally, the whole time this was going on, he was griping that he wished he still had RoboForm so that he wouldn’t have to go through all this. (RoboForm had been a casualty of the Great Cleanup.) I didn’t bother pointing out that:
- If he would just pick easier-to-remember passwords, or at the very least keep the password list where he can find it, he wouldn’t have to go through all this;
- If he would bother to take the time to read a few help files and be a little more careful in general, he wouldn’t have to go through all this;
- In fact, I am the one who actually has to go through all this every time he screws up his stuff, not him.
I did point out, through gritted teeth, and as gently as possible, that:
- He had, in fact, reinstalled RoboForm on his laptop, but was not using it;
- You have to know what your passwords are in order to put them into RoboForm in the first place;
- Even if he had been using RoboForm, it wouldn’t have done him any good in this case because he had changed the stored password somehow. RoboForm can’t help you if you go around accidentally changing your passwords without realizing it. If you lose access to your account, RoboForm can’t get it back for you (as far as I know).
In the end, his “software” was downloaded and his emails were flowing freely on his phone again, for which he thanked me profusely. And I accepted the cash money without my usual hesitation, despite knowing that they’re still somewhat struggling themselves, because quite frankly (a) I’m struggling more, and (b) I’m foolishly hoping that maybe if it starts costing him actual money to get his computer crap fixed over and over that he’ll learn to be less careless with it. I love my friends, but I don’t love being taken for granted.
I’m a woman. This may come as a surprise to the one or two of you who haven’t been paying close attention.
Over the past several years, I’ve deliberately worked to keep that fact, if not obscured, at least vague and unstated. I’ve spent many years being a moderate-to-very paranoid person, for reasons both reasonable and neurotic. I once attracted a cyberstalker (the kind who hates you, not the kind who loves you), in the Olden Dayes when I used my full name on the Web and talked openly about my personal life while getting into messageboard fights. My stalker cracked one of my email accounts, using information she’d gleaned from things I had stupidly shared online, and generally made my life miserable for a short time.
So, lesson learned on that front, but my paranoia just got worse over time as the Internet got crazier and crazier and I learned more and more about how people could injure each other using information they got from your blog or your forum posts. My then-husband, who by this time was grateful for anything that deflected my attentions away from him, was of no help, and either fed my paranoid notions or derided them while ignoring my deepening mental health issues.
Then my husband finally left me and my relatives turned their backs on me, and I pretty much told myself, “DON’T LET ANY OF THESE PEOPLE FIND YOU AGAIN BECAUSE THEY WILL EITHER HARASS YOU OR MOCK YOU FOR YOUR FAILURES AND PROBABLY BOTH.” I started using more obscure handles online, and was deliberately cagey about who I was and where I lived. Every time I lost another job or gained weight or had a financial crisis, I thought about what THOSE PEOPLE would think and say about me if they knew what I was going through. Sometimes I would torture myself by Googling their names and marinating in their happiness and success without me in their lives, and imagining how they would laugh or cluck their tongues if they knew I was delivering pizza for a living. “THEY CAN’T FIND OUT ABOUT THIS.”
Those of you who’ve read my archives of conversations here will realize that all this paranoia didn’t come from nowhere. I’ve been in abusive relationships for literally my entire life. Daddy, big sister, even Mom in her well-meaning-but-man-what-a-messed-up-woman way. Bad boyfriends, bad bosses, a bad marriage. My life has been sculpted by the people around me, and as an adult I’ve chosen the same kinds of people to be around out of habit. Better the devil you know, as the saying goes.
But as I’ve mentioned before, I’m medicated now. The medication, while doing nothing to repress my colorful imagination, nevertheless has proven to greatly reduce my general anxiety and the worst of my ideations. I no longer panic when I catch a glimpse of someone I dislike in the grocery store (“WHAT IF THEY SEE YOU BUYING PEPTO-BISMOL THEY’LL KNOW YOU HAVE DIARRHEA AND TELL THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO HATE YOU”). I no longer Google my ex-husband or any of the ex-people in my life (“LOOK AT HOW HAPPY HE IS WITH HIS NEW WIFE AND WHAT IF HE FINDS OUT YOU’RE ON FOOD STAMPS HE’LL LAUGH”). And I no longer avoid mentioning that I’m medicated (“EVERYBODY IS THINKING THANK GOD SHE’S FINALLY MEDICATED BECAUSE YOU’RE SO CRAZY AND EVERYBODY THINKS IT’S ABOUT TIME YOU CRAZY WOMAN”).
It’s actually kind of a big deal for me to do this, to “come out” and say that I am a woman, even though most of you probably already figured it out a long time ago (daddy issues having most likely been the biggest clue). I’ve spent so many years being coy about it that it’s become second nature for me to obscure details and use gender-neutral language and not mention my boobs. This is actually taking some effort for me to write. And on top of everything else, I believe it’s an accepted fact that just being female online can draw you all manner of highly unpleasant attentions of various flavors. When The Internet Knows You’re A Woman, anything you say or create gets filtered through the Vagina Detector, and I wonder if she’s hot and wow she must be PMSing this week, yadda yadda.
So, this is hard. But I think I’ve gotten to a point where I no longer need (“need”) to keep so much of my life private. I still choose to keep my first name out of this, as well as the real names of the other people and ex-people in my life. Y’all don’t need to know where I work, or where I live, or what I look like (for now, at least). But I started this site as a form of self-therapy, and therapy requires honesty, and honesty means not being evasive about something that’s such an elemental part of who I am. Future posts, when I’m able to make them, will reflect this.
Thanks again for stopping by.
Fun fact: I have actually been having a Spam and eggs sandwich for breakfast almost every morning for the past week or so. With a slice or two of pepper jack cheese. Yum.
Comment: “kinda wierd” — Re: Recovery Disks
I posted my Tech Support for Friends series on Reddit, and this was the only one that got a response. I’m not sure if she was referring to my site, or to the continuing headdesk adventures of That One Guy.
Comment: “Please keep thoriwng these posts up they help tons.” — Re: Qualify
It should come as a surprise to no one that I do, indeed, produce content for this site by vomiting.
Comment: “I have to share something.About 2 years ago in the early Spring. I was deep aeeslp when I heard the sound of an Owl hooting out our bedroom window.It was so loud and so close and constant that it woke me immediately. I thought it might be perched upon our porch it sounded so dern close. I got up and went to the window to peek through the blinds.Upon my peek, my everso tiniest of a peek the owl flew off into the late Spring night. He appeared to be perched out at the tree by our mailbox.But upon its flight, instantaneously though out the entire house, came a breeze through all the windows, lifting all the curtains.I cannot help but think that owl was calling to me. How the heck did he see me peek through my window blind! He had to be watching and waiting! Thus, I can seriously relate to your image and post today! Happy Valentines!” — Re: Wash a Car
When I first read this comment in the spam folder, I felt bad. It’s a cute little story and has an owl in it, just like the photo on that page, and I thought, “Oh, this was a real comment from a real person and it got flagged as spam and I missed it.” Then I realized (a) that it’s in the middle of a series of spam comments from people using Facebook pages as their URLs, and (b) “Happy Valentines!” But I still love the story, and the little affectations that are sprinkled throughout: “so dern close,” “everso tiniest,” “Owl” with a capital O. Owls are wonderful, even to spammers.
Comment: “Hi Dave,Wauw, really very nice pics. Very sharp also which i like. I know its very hard mniakg nice photo’s of kids (i try it a lot!)To bad i live in Curacao otherwise i would have asked you to picture my twins. Good work!Greetings from Curacao, sis of Bart, Son’s Auntie” — Re: Sudden Memory
Wait, so you’re Bart’s sister, so that makes you the Auntie of…his son? Or mine? Or somebody else’s? Wait, I don’t have a son. In fact, I’m not Dave. And I don’t photograph kids. But you’re in Curacao, so good for you.
Comment: “Okay I’m convinced. Let’s put it to acotin.” — Re: Houseguest
There’s nothing especially interesting or funny about this little misspelled spam comment. However, out of curiosity, I Googled “acotin” and found this (on eBay). It was apparently a popular painkiller in the early part of the last century, but its primary ingredient was phenacetin, which we now know to be carcinogenic. It also contained atropine, which is an alkaloid derived from deadly nightshade. So you’ll die, but you’ll die without a headache. Anyway, thank you, spammer, for leading me down this interesting little Wikipedia rabbit hole.