Hey non‐heartless geeks, how do you avoid becoming some random person’s computer guy1?
I was just blindsided by my friend’s aunt and before I knew it, I was showing her how to use her laptop’s right‐click button to delete unwanted desktop shortcuts in Windows XP. Then, she wanted to know how to delete a bookmark from her Internet Explorer bar.
She scared me on the last one, though; through her broken English, she seemed to be describing an unwanted browser toolbar, and warning sirens went off in my head as I started thinking I was going to be asked to remove one of those. Then, as she cursed Internet Explorer while it took nearly a full minute to load, I had to fight the urge to make a quick exit through the window — closed and locked, of course — before I could be asked about removing spyware or defragmenting. I almost suggested she just buy a whole new computer, before realizing that I could just as easily be conscripted into helping with that.
Ugh. It turned out to be simple stuff in the end… but this is how it always starts.
Before I know it, I’m going to be fixing her router, before troubleshooting her DSL problems, before being roped into advising her on which of the programs that she installed on her computer she no longer needs and can be removed to free up space on her hard drive.2
Proof that there is no god: I look the part.
This is bug #2. Let’s fix this.