Once, in a technological rage, I threw a printer cartridge at the wall. This was a mistake. A big, messy, splattery mistake. Since then, I have effectively been afraid of exacting physical revenge on technology, no matter how much it angers me. I have been conditioned to fear technology, and to bow hopelessly to its will. If the GPS tells me to turn right, I turn right, even if I know for sure that my destination is left. Basically, I am technology's bitch.
Or, at least, I was.
Not so long ago, I purchased a running watch. I wanted this watch to perform a few, relatively simple, tasks. I wanted it to tell me for how long I had been running, in terms of time. I wanted it to inform me of the distance I had covered, in either kilometres or miles - you choose, watch, I'm not fussy. It would also have been nice to know how fast or (more likely) slowly I had performed individual laps. That was about it. I don't think it was asking all that much, especially not for an investment of a cool hundred pounds. Would the watch perform? It would not. Time after time I put the watch on, headed out for a run, and came back utterly clueless as to any of the above pieces of data. I won't bore you with the whys and wherefores, it just so happens that I chose a particularly perverse, unuserfriendly piece of technology. It UNDERSTOOD what I wanted, it just didn't want to give it to me.
After a particularly stressful workday, I came home intent on having another attempt at going for a run. This time, watch, I said, without much conviction, it must be noted, you are going to work. We are going to go for a run, and you are going to tell me what I wish to know about this run. Afterwards, we will both be happy. See how it works? I run, you work, everyone happy. Bon?
Pas bon. I started fiddling with the watch, endeavouring to reach the basic set up page and, well, set it up. No good. I then decided to try pitting technology against itself, and searched YouTube, using some variation of the words: 'how the effing hell does my effing watch work?' I found a video, I watched a video, I was none the wiser. So I decided to try an old tactic, namely, pleading with the watch. Please watch, I whimpered. Please, I really just need you to work. I really want to go for a run. Only a little run. Please watch. Pleeeeeeeeease.
No good. I started crying. I didn't think that this was going to make the watch work, but I was at the end of my tether. I was tired, infuriated, frustrated, with myself, the watch and the world. I was lonely. I was fed up with trying to make things work on my own, with having no help. My rage and self-pity were reaching tipping point. I'd spent £100 on this stupid bloody thing that wouldn't do what it was supposed to. I'd chosen badly, AGAIN. Another crappy life decision, bought to you by me. Another piece of technology picking on me, taking me for a fool. I was so furious I think I remember actually BITING the watch. The run was a write off and I cried myself out, utterly defeated.
Then, suddenly, magically, I was overtaken by a profound sense of calm and determination. My rage was gone, replaced with a cold, calculating understanding of what I had to do. It was time for technology to learn a lesson. Sod the £100. I went to the tool cupboard and collected the hammer.
Oh, and someone I love very much bought me a new running watch. So maybe I'm not quite as alone as I thought.