Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Computer Lady

I was at the library today and I was reminded of how some people react when things aren't going their way. Here's a basic idea of what happened.

I sat down at a computer to do some typing to my missionary siblings. Things were going pretty good, when suddenly my chair is jolted by a lady tripping over me. How she failed to see me I am not sure, but she tripped and started to fall. As she was about to smack face-first into the printer, I did the (gentlemanly?) lady-like thing and caught her, asking if she was okay. In return, I was given a massive glare and was shaken off. This lady then plopped her stuff down at the computer next to mine and started 'working' at a furious pace.

I decided to watch this strange creature. She was pacing back and forth behind her computer, and every once in awhile would lean forward and type furiously on the keyboard. The computer would respond with an <error> message and a stubborn beep. At this she would swear at the computer, and resume pacing while shuffling through a huge sheaf of papers. This repeated two or three times.

After the third time she attacked the computer and got the same response, I was so intrigued that I couldn't help but ask if she needed any help.
Me: "Excuse me, can I help...?"
Angry Computer Lady: *Poisonous Look*
Me: Alrighty then, I'll just be invisible for awhile...

This is almost an exact representation.
She continued to alternate between swearing, typing, and madly shuffling through papers. After a bit I divined that she was trying to get something to print. A quick glance at her screen told me that she was setting it up as a fax document instead of a word document, and the poor abused computer couldn't make sense of her demands. I debated offering to help her one more time and risk dying of evil glares, but at that moment she stormed off to the information desk to bring back a long-suffering librarian. The librarian was, of course, able to fix it, and the crazy computer lady madly printed off several papers, gathered them up, and in a flurry of awkwardness and pervasive stress, dissapeared.

Whew, glad she's gone. I thought, Now I'll just finish typing and go on pinterest for a bit...
I'm used to strange people, the world is peppered with them and I seem to encounter more than my fair share. I thought this was just the latest in a string of strange encounters. However, little did I know this encounter was not yet complete.

10 minutes later, the crazy computer lady returned, and this time actually sat down on my other side. She opened up the computer, and then proceeded to mutter swear words under her breath as she furiously clicked away. A few unsuspecting boys came in, seeking a past-time of computer games. Little did they know, crazy computer lady was there to stay. These two innocent blonde kids started whispering furiously about the latest MMORPG they were involved in, trading hints and secrets as they shared a computer. They were down the row from my own and the crazy computer lady's area, but that didn't stop her from rising and hissing at them. "SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Everyone in the entire library was silenced by the echoing of crazy computer lady's hiss. The two boys retreated into their shells, throwing glances at her that seemed to say, Harry Potter is right, grown-ups are wicked mad and can't be trusted. 
The crazy computer lady then resumed working, seemingly unaware that her swearing was louder than the boy's whispers had ever been. Much worse for the ears too.

At that point I'd had enough, I scrapped my work for the day and gathered myself up and out the door. You are expected to put up with a certain amount of crazy in public areas, but this was ridiculous. Not harmless ridiculous like the guy on the bus that wears stuffed anime characters pinned to his hat, but drunk guy hanging around the supermarket dangerous ridiculous. She had absolutely no clue of how she was appearing to the people around her, so caught up in her whirlwind of real or imagined stresses that she was permeating the entire building with bad attitude.

I thought about that on the way home, few people are as unaware of their self-image as to be that rude. It was also interesting to me that she refused offers of help, choosing instead to bring other people into her stress and angst instead of letting it be solved. Then, I found some peaches and cream and forgot about it.

Next morning I popped down to the library. As I don't have a computer, I have to use the library for all my work, including typing this. If you remember, I also didn't have a chance to finish my missionary letters. I sat down and guess who walks in not 10 minutes later. Crazy computer lady, as full of vitrol and swearing as she had been the previous evening. She swore at her computer, clumsily banged into things, and told off an unsuspecting patron who had the audacity to answer a phonecall in her vicinity. It was then that I decided to take action, and penned this note:

Dear Angry Computer Lady,
I noticed you here at the library last night and you seemed rather upset. I don't think you noticed me, but you tripped over me once and when I offered to help, you pretended you hadn't heard. I'm sorry you're having such a bad day. I also couldn't help but notice that you hushed everyone around you, but then kept swearing at your computer. 
How about this, I'll help you out with your computer problems next time I see you, and you don't hush people in public and put a lid on the swearing. I'm also going to just leave this note and run, because I'm worried you'll glare at me again. Don't worry, I'll come back on a less stressful day. 
Just want you to know, it's going to be okay and there are people who do notice and want to help. 
It gets better,
Quiet Computer Girl

Halfway through the writing of this, crazy computer lady got up and left, quite suddenly. If she returns I'll give this to her, but if not, that's okay.

And just so you all know, watch your thoughts, actions, and words. You never know who is watching and what sort of effect you are having on them!

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