Unlike many people, I have a completely computer literate dad. When buying anything even vaguely computer related, he is the man to consult. He built every computer in our house, with the exception of my brand-spanking-new laptop, and he has been building them since computers had less memory than a Game Boy. I distinctly remember computer bits lying all over our living room when I was little, as well as the time he’d had a bit too much to drink and my computer started emitting sparks when he tried to install a new graphics card.
My brother has inherited this obsession with computers, and quite often, our dinner table conversations consist of them trying to convince each other exactly why they need a £94, 24” computer monitor or huge graphics card which would make their games so precise and clear that it would burn their eyeballs out.
I, on the other hand, do not have this nack. I am the sort of person who is capable, but doesn’t talk about these things. Maybe it’s a female thing, I don’t know, but I could never summon up enthusiasm about a ‘network range extender’ or my new found ability to touch type, which astounded my dad so much, as I’m sure he was under the impression I couldn’t find a keyboard if one was thrown at me.
It is a great thing to have a dad who can build you a computer, don’t get me wrong, but it can be exceedingly annoying at times. He is also a perfectionist, so when something goes a little wrong, he tends not to stop fiddling with the computer until it works exactly how it should. You would have thought, after all these years, he would have learnt that computers tend to never work exactly how they should. For example, last night, my brother wanted to print his coursework, but his computer wouldn’t connect to the printer on the network. He then spent three hours trying to get them to connect, which was all well and good, except it took until 1am. He could have just got my brother to email him the file, but in his words, ‘What’s the point of the network if it doesn’t work?’ So true, and yet not getting anything printed. My first question tends to be ‘Does it work?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Right, let me use it.’
However, there comes a time when the lowly mortal which is myself gets to show the computer Zeus that is my dad up. There comes a time where my youth pays off for something. Last week, I had the immense task of introducing my parents to instant messaging, with the added difficulty of it being after they’d had a few bottles of wine. Suddenly, I was the person telling them what to do. Suddenly, it was my name my mum was screeching across the house (she’s lovely, but man, does she screech). There was a great feeling of satisfaction about this, but not so much as telling my dad that ‘I know that should work, but it’s not doing it, so do this instead.’
It’s petty, but for once, I didn’t feel half like the computer idiot everyone thinks I am. No more will anyone express surprise at my typing speed, or God forbid, that I know html, or even that I know how to use Windows Photodraw, which is the weirdest piece of photo technology in existence. And it feels good.