If you own a home computer, there’s a good chance you also have a printer. It might be a simple black-and-white model, limited to putting electronic letters, manuscripts and statements on paper. That’s what I need. Nothing more.
I bought one of those printers sometime last fall. It isn’t in use, though, because I haven’t opened the box to connect it.
Please don’t judge. My childhood and adult life have forced me to learn almost everything without help, and I’m burned out. A kind librarian taught me the basics of using an internet computer, and for months after that she answered my questions and offered assurances when I thought I’d broken the library computer. I won’t go so far as to say she literally dried my tears because I was too upset to cry. You know how that is, when you’re pushed beyond your limit…
After ten years of getting pretty good at using a library computer without causing it to freeze or show ominous messages, I bought a home computer. The vacation in hell began all over again, without anyone on call to step up to the plate in a crisis.
Downloading wasn’t permitted at library computers, so I hadn’t studied the process or the hazards of saving online material. There are attractive things on the internet, though, so naturally you want to keep copies of some of them. I couldn’t resist. I didn’t recall anyone warning me that the download button could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. All I knew was the cute stock photo of sheep had a download button right next to it.
The first time a virus was removed from my computer, the technician had to return the device to factory settings. I had saved photos to personal accounts, so I could use those sites to locate Pug puppy images that were wiped from the computer. The harm was kept to a minimum, and the technician replaced a security program which I didn’t know had expired.
The first virus was what some people call a valuable learning experience. However, I hadn’t learned quite enough to avert another expensive repair. I was like those people who find out too late that putting a zippered cover on a hotel mattress won’t protect them from bedbugs. We make a conscientious effort, but we’re still babes in the woods.
There were other precautions I had to learn through trial and error, and after more than four years with a home computer I finally know what I can and can’t do. Ready or not, the printer is the next challenge.
I’ve needed a printer for a long time, and know how to use the one at the library. I’ve kept returning to the library, too. The Fed Ex Office Store has a shorter (often nonexistent) waiting time for computers, although it’s a tad expensive. A prepaid card holds up longer at the library, mainly because library computers are free.
A system was worked out for saving money at the Fed Ex Store. I’d sit at one of their public computers and order a printout. The cost of the computer time and the printout were deducted from the card, and it wasn’t pretty. However, if backup copies were needed, I’d take the pages to a photocopy machine. That saved about eighty percent of the printer fee.
Then Fed Ex replaced its copy machines with more sophisticated models. A courteous employee assured me that if I had a problem, all I had to do was signal to her and she’d run to my rescue. That made me feel so much better when I walked back to the copy machine. She and I could see each other from where we were standing, so I was confident this would work out.
I couldn’t find the button for one of the settings, and I didn’t panic. My angel in the Fed Ex polo shirt was looking in my direction, so I waved.
My angel got a friendly smile on her face, waved back and returned to her work behind the counter. I’ll give her a break. My wave may not have had the right distress call quality, so it was open to interpretation.
I need this printer, and can’t wait any longer to go on the horrific journey of getting it installed. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. If I don’t survive and anyone decides to make a movie about this, please emphasize that I want Martin Scorsese to direct.