Technology frustrates me so much. I’ve no patience. I’ve been known to unplug the printer and threaten to throw it across the room. I haven’t yet followed through on this, but I’ve come close to it. I am aware however that a simple act like this could make me come across as a complete psycho. ‘Charles Dickens didn’t have this sodding problem,’ I mutter.
Let me tell you about the printer, the device I was hoping could produce quality print-outs, so that Mr Big Agent would be really impressed. It’s manufactured by a very well known company and I was impressed with the sales advisor’s pitch when I went in search of a new model.
‘Yes it churns out fifty pages a minute or something like that,’ he said.
‘Wow,’ I replied. ‘I’ll take it.’
‘The print quality’s great too,’ he added.
Better still, I thought. Mr Agent won’t need his glasses as he squints at the botched printing. He’ll be impressed with the quality of the pixels and the glorious sheen, so much so, he’ll e-mail me back and ask me the name of the manufacturer.
(As I drove home, with the printer in the boot, I cast my mind back to the good old days. I got a typewriter from Santa for Christmas 1983, when I was eight. And I loved it. Each night I diligently sat at the breakfast bar and created beautiful asymmetrical lines of:
If I made a mistake, I borrowed my mum’s special rubber and erased the mistake. The page, when complete, was so pleasing to the eye. It was the most beautiful square.)
Once the new printer was rigged up, I tried to print my fifty pages/first three chapters. But the useless lump of a thing kept sucking the pages back in, creating a big blob at the bottom of each page. I ended up with thirty spoiled sheets. I was convinced it did this deliberately.
‘Sorry, trees,’ I whispered as I loaded yet more sheets into the tray.
At that point, I wanted to kick the printer, pull the leads out of the back and hurl it across the study. Deep breath.
I think it’s a problem we all encounter at some point in our writing lives – the inability of technology to co-operate. I am comforted by the fact it’s a universal problem. But it sucks up so much time. If only we could journey back to pen, paper and Tippex.
Not impressed with this printer*
*I could be doing something wrong. In all honesty, it’s probably not a manufacturing fault and more to do with the fact I refuse to read installation and instruction manuals.
It was on special offer though and the cynic in me believes that this is the shop’s way of clearing out what falls short of the mark.