Which describes u best?
How often do you use the “Help” button on your computer? Or atleast, which do you use more: “Help” or “Search”?
I hit the “Search” button atleast once a morning. Being one of those people who know whatever has been done by man can be done or undone by man; whatever suffering borne, can be borne; that nothing is new under the sun, nothing personal, that even those things “at hearing which both our ears tingle” nowadays (homosexuality, incest, beastilia – in short all those deviant behaviors the internet helped flourish) has been taking place since biblical times; I have little doubt as to what I am capable of accomplishing. So.. I’d break it down, if I must, to pieces. But I usually end up fixing it. I ain’t a risk taker, no way no how. I’ll never mess around with the bulb without asking if somebody has “keQotari matfaat” it atleast three times. Neither do I climb to the roof without having half the villager support the ladder. But I have a good eye for problems (without being told, when it comes to human problems), and usually find myself lucky with the solution.
Ofcourse, there are self-imposed boundaries I don’t generally cross. I, for example, let the professionals handle when it comes to those things I can’t afford to replace. They gotta be replaceable. Or stuff I can get by without. Or atleast have something to use in their stead: A “Gaz midija” in place of the electric stove you are too lazy to take to the repair shop. A laptop instead of the VCD player whose “head” needs a changing. A book or a hobby that makes the courageous act of saying “no thanks, I’ll pass” to the kind of people or addiction you no longer want to be around worth it.
Two weeks ago, my husband sent my brother and sister an iPod each for Christmas. “Read the manual and tell me what to do”, I ordered them afterwards. They read the manual and told me each iPod needs to be charged for 4 hours before doing anything or is messed up for good. I had the computer, they didn’t. So they begged, threatened and warned me not to disconnect the iPods until each showed a green signal. “Trust me..”, was my confident response, “I could do it on my head!”.
Upon arriving home, I turned the laptop on and connected the iPods’ cable to it. After about 10 minutes, I heard a noise I recognized only too well: the noise a laptop makes on intervals to show it was running out of batteries. While checking if the adapter has come lose (which i keep connected to the power source, whether the batteries are fully charged or not), I noticed the building has suddenly gone quite. “Mebrat hedowal”, I realized in panic. There was nothing I could do so I disconnected the cables and turned the laptop off. 3 hours, that’s how long I waited for the power to return, under a flickering candle-light and with an aganoizing heart. I couldn’t figure out if i’ve ruined the iPods or not. If the electricity would resume in time or not. If I should inform the respective proprietors about what happened or if I should wait and see.
When the power resumed, it was past 9:00 p.m. I connected the iPod cables to the laptop, crossing my finger the power doesn’t get cut-off again. I didn’t fall asleep for the next 4 hours, inspite of having set the alarm on my mobile phone to wake me up at 1:00 a.m. When it did, I was already walking around the room doing nothing. I gave it 15 more minutes and checked the iPods. The orange light was still blinking. I stayed up for one more hour. Nada! It was already 3:00 in the morning and i was sick to the stomach about the whole affair. What a holiday pooper, i thought, while tossing and turning in my bed! After all my husband did to make my kins happy! The half-day fatigue of claiming it at the post office!. Paying almost three hundred birr for tax! Their excitement! Their friend’s excitement. All the sleep I lost.. for nothing!
“I think I ruined it”, I said, when I gave back the iPods to my bro and sis the next a.m. “Don’t wanna hear it! Not a word! How am I supposed to know there would be an electric-cut just then?!”
Blen came back into the room a few minutes later. “I don’t think you ruined it,” she said hesitantly, “it says here it blinks orange when it’s charging, it’s when you disconnect it and turn it on that it turns green. It’s showing green now”. Oh happy days!
I don’t know how Nietzsche would see this resistance of mine to hitting the “Help” button. But even the thought of consulting a manual annoys me, just as much as coming across people who demand for Manuals before taking a look at the machinery and trying to put it together using their common sense does.
My husband Chris is one of those people. Weirdly enough, it’s one of the things I noticed and loved about him the first time we met. We used to leave his laptop by the reception every time we left the hotel. When we came back on the 4th or 5th day, it was working no more. The receptionist swore, almost tearfully, she hasn’t touched it. So he told me not to worry, it happens, he’d see what he can do about it. When I came back into the room, he was sitting crossed legged on the floor, with the laptop infront of him, pouring over the manuals. Afterwards, he took it apart, carefully and methodically, assigning a number or a position for each and every bit that came out. Took him not less than 2 hours to figure out what the problem was and where everything went. But he did it. He reassembled the laptop and it worked.
There are, ofcourse, times when you’d like him to step on it a bit. Like when you are hungry and want him to fix you a “quick snack”. He’d do it for you, ofcourse, it’s a piece of his heart he’s ready to give you any time. But not before asking if you were going to hurry him. And you’ve dug your nail in something. If you impatiently tried to interfere with, say, the garlic that hasn’t browned enough, the onion that hasn’t cooked enough, the rice that hasn’t dried enough; he takes both your hands and drag you to the living room. “Why won’t you”, he says, sitting you down and giving you a book or a remote control, “watch a movie while I finish?”. It comes out perfect, ofcourse. Exactly the way your senses anticipated it to. But with what cost to you! 🙂 .
On the other hand, nothing I ever cooked comes out tasting the way it did last time. I find new, quicker, ways to do it. So.. it’s always a shade different. Sometimes a good shade, other times not so good. Put me somewhere I have to stay put for hours without talking, helping or interfearing; a movie, a magazine or a book to keep me company and I’d scream the roof down. Or hit my head against the wall until something, that could keep me busy, comes out. The fear of being left alone with my thoughts/myself, an e-friend once speculated, is what causes this feverish action to fill the gaps in my days and/or life. “You worry there is something wrong even when i keep quite for a minute. And what’s with all these ‘So….?’, ‘Are you ok?’, ‘Is everything alright?’ anyway?! Why does ‘silence’ have to mean ‘problem’?!”. I’ve explained, then, that’s how we, Ethiopians, were. That “Selam newu?”, “Tadia.. Tefah..”, “Techawet” were as much a part of our conversation as breathing. He did not think so.
Now… I’ve never driven a car, or even owned a driving license. So I don’t know if I’m one of those people who would consult a map or ask for directions. If I do, though, it would be after I’m certain I were irreedemably lost. And that enough strength remains in me to assemble the features and say “YiQirta yene wondim laschegrih..?!” to the person coming my way.
How about you?
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