Alt F4

  • 10 Feb - 16 Feb, 2018
  • Ayesha Adil
  • Fiction

How can one live in a world of technology and still be so technologically challenged? I preferred the term ‘techno retard’ but one can’t use it for their own self, right?

I often felt how my own technological knowledge was but a minute speck of dust compared to a whole mountain. The fact hit home when I restarted my laptop for the third time in a row as Fawad silently watched.

“Why are you constantly doing that, Saima?” he couldn’t help but intervene.

“I don’t know. It’s stuck or something and I can’t figure it out.” I mumbled incoherently.

He came and sat next to me, did some tapping on the keyboard and finally announced that it was good to go. “It won’t be bothering you again. But if it does, you tell it to me.”

My knight in shining armor. My hero would save me on any given day with his wisdom and kindness.

“Humph. He will insult you soon enough too when he finds out why you keep turning it on and off.” interjected my inner voice, bursting my balloon. I can always count on my conscience to bring me back to reality.

I returned to my work. To be honest, the little I knew about computers was information handed down to me by my students. They had patiently taught me the dynamics of Microsoft Word, Power point and Excel while I helped them on their presentations and assignments. Not only did I owe them big time but also really missed them every time I got stuck somewhere on my laptop. Restarting it again would be too conspicuous a move and Fawad would find out what I was up to. I could save my work and do it later but I wouldn’t be able to meet my deadline then.

I weighed my possibilities: if I ask for Fawad’s help, he would not only fix the glitch but would also teach me how to do it myself, in case I get stuck again. If I stay quiet, there’s no other way I’d learn. And anyway, all great learners ask questions.Didn’t I always encourage my students to ask for help?

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? He would probably get a little irritated and say, “Saima, let me teach you. Why didn’t you ask me in the first place?” He would then take me through the process patiently and have me try it a couple of times till I got it right. That wasn’t so bad. So why was I hesitant?

But one of my shortcomings is that I can never work well under someone’s eyes. I can’t find a single key on the keyboard even if it’s staring me in the face. And even if I manage to follow his steps, I would never remember them later, bringing myself back to square one. I hastily sent my students some genuine prayers out of immense gratitude towards them. Not only did they teach me but also repeated the procedures to me a gazillion times until I got hang of them.

Realising that I had squandered some precious time thinking useless things, I nervously turned off my laptop.

“Are you done, Saima?”

“Yeah, kind of.” I replied almost honestly.

“Okay, good. I need a few things from the store. Why don’t you come too?”

“Yes. Why not? Give me a minute.”

I got my bag and things in no time and we were ready to go.

“Where are we headed?” I asked aimlessly, stuffing some cash in my purse.

“We are going to a bookstore.”

I instantly became animated. Books! Was Fawad feeling generous and planned on buying me some books? My persona instantly changed from an average, serious adult to a playful three-year-old. I felt like Agnes from the Despicable Me movies; my level of excitement matched hers!

“Is there a specific book you have in mind?”

I wanted to know the exact time we would be staying there for: if Fawad knew which title to buy precisely, then it would probably mean a quick in and out trip to the book store. But if he planned on browsing… imagine all the time I could spend in my most favourite place! The very thought of it sent my heart to somersaults.

Being in a bookstore felt like being in a forest to me; touching, feeling, picking up and smelling. Only a confirmed bookaholic would know that choosing the right book is not just a visual experience. It transcends all five senses. It’s almost a celestial experience. Bringing the right book home, anticipating the joy of reading it; anyone who has reveled in that feeling would be able to relate to it.

If only life could stop and let us read and do nothing.

Fawad replied vaguely to my question but the optimist in me hoped for the best!

The bookstore was not crowded, which is another thing I love about them. They are always peaceful with a comforting smell of books to lure bibliophiles. They will always have plenty of room for exploration for an intellectual mind like mine. No crowd, no people. Just me and the beautiful books! I couldn’t ask for more.

Fawad apparently knew what he wanted because he went straight to a certain section after a confidential exchange with the owner of the store.

I began my search too. There were some amazing titles that caught my eye like The Psychopath Inside and A Doorway to Heaven but I eventually settled for Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray. Maybe I can put myself and Fawad into a water-tight classification after reading it? I found this a little amusing. Put myself and Fawad in a water-tight classification. If anything could be farther from the truth.

I perused a few more aisles. Cook books always caught my attention for their pretty pictures. I picked one with some quick recipes.

I could see Fawad was already at the counter to pay. I quickly grabbed the recent copy of Reader’s Digest and joined him.

“So, what did you get Fawad?”

He turned around, holding a copy of Computer for Dummies.

“Who are you getting it for?” I asked absent-mindedly.

And then it suddenly hit me. Oh my God! In my world of technological retards, calling us dummies was not too farfetched. Apparently, Fawad knew all along.

He was looking at me, smiling and I couldn’t help but smile back.

Sometimes knights in shining armor take the short cut and buy us damsels in distress a good book! Save yourself, you empowered woman, he seemed to say.

“Are you happy?” he asked.

“Very!” I replied in all honesty.