I hate this stupid computer.
Do you ever say that? Or maybe you use a less pleasant word in front of ‘computer’ or ‘phone’ or some other device.
I am guilty of all those things… and I even did the first one today as I was trying to start this column.
I mentioned last week that I had travelled to the United States to help my mother move house.
Well, the computer I took with me is quite old and the States is the place to buy inexpensive laptops, so that’s what I did.
What that means, however, is that I now need to figure out the Windows 10 operating system.
The old computer had Windows 7 and I knew where to find the things I needed to write, save and send this thing to The Voice by email, but on this new one I don’t.
The thing is, this baby is still an incredible piece of machinery.
It is not stupid and it is not the laptop’s fault I don’t know how to use it yet.
Never-the-less, I took for granted all the amazing things it was doing for me.
I used to type articles on a manual typewriter and then edit them by cutting the paper they were written on with a pair of scissors and sticking the bits together in the order I wanted them with a jar of paste and a brush.
That’s where the electronic ‘cut and paste’ term comes from, and I can assure you the new version is a hell of an improvement.
I also mentioned last week that on the first morning I was in the States I saw humpback whales come to the surface near the beach at sunrise.
That happened again on the next three days and on one of those mornings there were also dolphins feeding on bait fish within 100 metres of shore.
Pretty exciting; right? That is exactly what all the people at the beach thought, but then the whales showed up.
After that, whenever a dolphin rolled on the surface there was a brief ‘ooh’ and then someone said, ‘no, it’s just another dolphin.”
It’s not like dolphins are a common sighting on the New Jersey coast but we do tend to take things for granted, especially when something bigger or better, or just different, comes along.
When I went into the bush with BirdLife Botswana members, many of them would search for new birds to put on their lists and they would usually get quite excited when they spotted one.
When they saw the same species again, however, they often said, ‘oh no, it’s just another Lilac-breasted Roller, or whatever, regardless of how beautiful the bird might have been.
This tendency to take things for granted would be quite humorous if it only applied to the way we view animals and electronic toys.
Unfortunately, it can also affect the way we seecolleagues, family members, friends and our mates and make us forget what we liked about those people in the first place.
When that happens, it is not funny at all… and it is even more stupid than the person operating this fantastic computer.