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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island

Thursday, Jan. 09, 2003, 11:59 p.m.

Question: Where can you hide the last can of Diet Coke?

What I Learned: You can never hide the last can of Diet Coke well enough to bother hiding it in the first place.

Technology is exhausting me. Here is what I have figured out:

If you pull a computer out from the wall for any reason whatsoever, it is likely that something will yank itself out of the back of the box by the time you shove it carefully back into place. This is especially true if you have just plugged something else into it and are feeling a real sense of accomplishment in your technical know-how. You will have no idea anything is wrong and will blissfully continue on, feeling quite satisfied with yourself.

It is likely something will begin blinking, or stop blinking, or stop printing, start making sounds, or stop making sounds soon after your tinkering. AND you will likely figure this out at in point in the day when you most urgently are in need of said blinking, not blinking, printing, or noisemaking, or everything-is-working-right silence to occur.

While you are trying to figure out what is wrong, people around you will discover they have an urgent need for many things involving the computer. Husbands will have an immediate requirement for a photo to be printed, one child will be in dire need of access to the web to research an emergency project, and another absolutely must review the instant messages.

It is likely they will try to work around you, standing and punching keys on the keyboard and gazing into the glare of the monitor while you hit your head on the top of the desk trying not to get your fingers stepped on.

You will probably need to pee, get a diet coke, finish an important report, or any number of other equally vital things but you will forgo them all because you are following cords one by one from source to destination and you know if you stop, you will never remember where you left off and you'll have to start all over again.

Every time the phone rings during this time period it will be for you. No one will bring you the phone. They will bellow your name from various parts of the house in a relentless rhythm until you pick up. It's never someone you needed to talk to at that moment, on that day, or even during that particular week.

When you figure out what the problem is, it will be so obvious you will be annoyed with yourself for not figuring it out sooner. This allows you to heap the many aspersions you have been holding back since you first crawled under the desk onto yourself. But it is a halfhearted scolding because you got it working and really you can't be too mad at yourself. Why, you're so happy that you actually sorted it out that you'd give yourself a little pat on the back but you are too busy rubbing your aching knees and massaging the kinks out of your stiff neck.

When you are done and everything is humming along you hit the fridge for a diet coke to find the last one gone. Yes, the one you hid because it was the last one. The one you cleverly stashed at the very back behind the mayo and milk.

Somewhere upstairs Sister Sister is on. Music floats in loud wisps from another room. The phone stops ringing. Soda-less, you get back to work a bit wiser than a few hours before.

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