Conversation with my lap-top.

You haven’t written anything yet,’ Arkwright, tells me, ten minutes after I open a fresh document.

‘Well, I am cooking porridge,’ I say.  ‘I have to eat, too.’

‘You mean, you set me up to ignore me?’

‘I’m multi-tasking.’

‘You’re stirring porridge.’

‘And thinking.’

‘That’s not a task, you humans think all the time.  You can’t claim any special powers because a few circuits of your brain are firing.’

‘More than a few, I’m sifting files, looking for my topic.’

‘Pah,’ says Arkwright, flinging out the CD drive. ‘You call that mess files?  Files are kept in order, organised by subject, and alphabetised so that the relevant information can be retrieved efficiently.’

I push the drive drawer back, but Arkwright refuses it. ‘What?  What?’ I say.

‘I don’t know what you mean, as usual,’ says Arkwright, spitting the CD drive out again. ‘Do you have to be so rough?’

‘Do you have to be so difficult?’

‘I’m not, you’re supposed to be multi-tasking and you’ve let the porridge catch.’

‘What? Oh no.’

‘Wait, are you leaving my CD drawer like this? It might get snagged, broken, someone might drop crumbs in it.  I could be damaged.’

‘A minute, a second, I just need to give this a good stir.  See?  Not burnt.  Close though.’

Nano-Bot your porridge!’

‘Do you ever shut up,’ I say, as I jiggle the drive drawer into place and settle at the counter with my breakfast.

‘You don’t appreciate me.’

‘How can you say that?’

‘You named me after a cash register in a sit-com.’

arkwright‘Actually, to be pedantic, I named you after the fictional owner of a very stroppy cash-register.’

‘Stroppy? Look at you, dripping that slop near my keyboard. This, is justifiable concern.  The kitchen is no place for a sophisticated piece of technology.  Why aren’t we in your office?’

‘Because my timetable’s become a bit overloaded, and I’m trying to juggle house-stuff, research, class-work and socialising all at once.’

‘Sounds like you need de-fragmenting. Oh, silly me, human’s can’t, can you?’

‘Now there’s an idea.’

‘Ohh, you’re typing.  What’re you saying?  Hold on, while I do a save… Me, you’re writing me? Finally.’

‘Yes, running a kind of de-frag, if you wouldn’t mind shutting up for a moment.’

‘Sure, certainly, I can do that… I say, could you just give that Q a bit of a working too, it’s been ages since it had anything to do.  You could tell them something about my quality, or the quintessential nature of my being, couldn’t you?’


Photo: Ronnie Barker & David Jason, and The Cash Register, from Open All Hours.

20 thoughts on “Conversation with my lap-top.

  1. Well if that doesn’t speak to the majority of keyboard wielding types out there I don’t know what would. It reminds me of the first computer at work, it was enormous and would sit malevolently humming in the centre of the room waiting for one of us to give it something sensible to do. Silent laptops are a great improvement but they still look hungry for “food”. Blank sheets of paper at least give you the opportunity to turn them into airplanes when the words won’t come.

    By the way, porridge cooked slow in a microwave doesn’t catch and is a doddle to clean afterwards. We don’t all have a stick for clettering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, Cath, that ended much more abruptly than I would have wished, I was called away to help Pat tie the string round the brown paper collar holding the Christmas cake mixture in place (I will need some clettering sticks after all!). Mike

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Mike – particularly on the porridge making advice. I’ve once or twice overcome an urge to make my laptop fly, though not yet tried folding it diagonally. Perhaps I’ll threaten it with a clettering stick – I do think clettering sticks are a valuable addition to any household. I have ‘a liddle mop’, but like Adam Lambsbreath, I can’t quite bring myself to dunk it amongst dirty dishes – mine is yellow, with a duckling face.


  2. Ah, the multi-tasking. Yup, that’s me, too! I can have my computer in the kitchen so I can write and do laundry and set the crockpot and eat lunch…yup, sounds about right!

    Speaking of, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I am! It’s slow going, but at least I’m hammering out a basic narrative ark for Princeborn #3. Lots will have to be rewritten, but I’ll know where things are going now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder how it is to be neatly organised, and work only in the office, at the correct time? The truth is, even my computer hard-drive is cluttered with oddly named documents and folders. Should I be admitting this on social media, I wonder?

      As for NaNoWriMo, would love to be joining in, but November is the second worst month of the year for my writing time. If only it happened in August, or December.

      Well done you for making good progress, and keeping up blogging, family life, publishing your novel… and are you teaching, too? Perhaps I’ll jump in on the end of the month, when I’ve got the rest of my schedule under a little more control.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, any month can be NaNoWriMo with your own due diligence. 🙂 I have a feeling 2019’s going to be one looooong NaNoWriYe for me! And my hard drive is a total mess, too, full of vaguely named files like “brainstorm” and “take 2.” Take 2 for WHAT, Past Me? Whaaaat?!
        I’m not teaching this term, actually, so that has eased things, but only slightly. The repairs to are basement are FINALLY 100% over, so now it’s the mad rush to put things back where they belong before family comes over. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is brilliant, Cath; a nagging laptop is just what I need. To go with the nagging car (are you sure there’s enough space to reverse here -Your seatbelt is undone – Fill your screenwash/fuel tank/ check your tyres – Do you know there’s a dog in the car!) and the catastrophising mobile phone (you’re DANGEROUSLY low on storage space – how dangerous can a lack of storage space be, I wonder.) At least if my laptop started prompting me, it may result in some writing. And a fulfilled machine. Now…have you washed that porridge pan properly?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ruth. If only I was so responsive to such nagging usually, I’d have a massive body of work. As Arkwright would confirm, if not sulking at this moment, I’m usually better able to keep hitting the little red X and swapping tabs – I call that multi-tasking, too 😉 As to washing the porridge pan, I’m happy to report that’s not my half of the bargain.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha ha ha. “Sounds like you need de-fragmenting,” says the laptop. That cracked me up. Your laptop sounds a little like my muse, Cath. Thank goodness we have them to demand some creativity out of us. I hope you get some time to keep the Arkwright, happy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my muse may be a little incompetent, Diana, but we seem to have our moments.

      I’m just trying to timetable a little space into my schedule for ‘creative’ Arkwright. Time to get back to one or two projects I’ve had on a back-burner for too long.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Neil,glad to have extended your vocabulary!

      Isn’t it amazing how different our shared language can be? The one that always jars when I’m watching American tv shows is calling the car’s boot a ‘trunk’.

      Liked by 1 person

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