I have waged this silent war with gadgets and gizmos for sometime now and its time to let it all out and declare an all out war. These thingies are invented to help us out and make our life easier, yet for me they served to do differently.
Take yesterday for example, I swear I must have demolished a whole forest before I could photocopy a decent page from a book. Either the top is lobbed off or the bottom half is amputated. At the end of the day, I had to cut and paste whatever I could salvage and the rest went into the recycle bin.
This is the new sophisticated photocopier in the department, which within a month of its arrival has had about three breakdowns.
Why can’t instructions be short and sweet? I, for one, do not have eyes for instructions. I go right when it says left, I pull doors when it says push but, hey, I do stop at lifting lifts. I am not that stupid.
Two weeks ago, I was ready to let go a kungfu kick at the ATM machine in Queensway. I have always had this phobia of ATM machines, not least because I fear the manager’s hand might appear out of the screen and catch hold of me for some obvious reasons. But this incident really took the biscuit.
Before I could even punch in my pin number , the wretched machine swallowed my card. Cold and hungry, I phoned up the bank only to talk to an answering machine asking security questions. I finally cancelled my card, making a mental note that the last transaction was £4.70 at the tube station.
Still worried, I called the bank again but because the computer heard me wrong, refused to give anymore information. I was already on the warpath because this happened right after a fight my hubby had with the automatic cashier at Tesco.
He is one who will test his wits against the might of any new inventions and so couldn't resist this auto cashier sitting there demurely waiting for us to put our purchase in the plastic bags, which under any normal circumstances would defeat the most genius of minds in cracking the code to splice them open.
Anyway, there we were scan, plonk, scan, plonk until we decided to check the products that we had plonked into the bag. That was when all hell broke loose. People began to stare as the wretched auto cashier started screaming (that was how it sounded to me): Suspicious item in bag, Please remove item. Suspicious item in bag. Please remove item.
We sure looked like shoplifters being caught redhanded as an assistant came to check what we had done. Apparently, once you put an item in, you are not supposed to take it out. Putting it back in will confuse dear stupid auto cashier. Hubby took offence to nagging auto cashier and said: oh shut up, after which an argument between human beings followed.
It must also be the same gizmo who dealt with my library books at the uni then. My account said I borrowed two books which were totally irrelevant to my course. I am doing Traditional Malay Literature but I had two books on Japanese checked out in my name. But of course, the half human almost machine behind the counter at first insisted the computer must be right until she saw that I was turning the colour of Hulk, muscles bursting out of my coat and all.
Sure, I do admit there are advantages of gadgets and gizmos. Take this blogsite for example..a place for me to vent out my anger. Even then, sometimes, I think it takes its revenge by freezing the screen. I have lost several beautifully composed features this way. Aaah, and many potential bestsellers too...
And of course, I am thankful for my new smart card IC! One swipe and it told me how much I had in my EPF savings!!! Soon, it'll tell me how much I don't have.
So, cards, passports, bank books are getting smarter nowadays. I went back to open an account. A young and eager clerk was helping me with what seemed a simple enough procedure. I was told to sign on the dottted lines. "Sign kuat-kuat sikit kak", he said helpfully. And I dutifully did as told.
When I received my brand new book, I was appalled that my signature, which I thought I had impressed quite hard onto the paper, did not appear. I offered to do it again, but the young clerk turned away, apparently to hide his smile. My friend, the bank manager, who was there to speed up the procedure, was quite embarassed and told me later that the signature was in fact invisible. Oh, gitu.....
But you know these smart thingies can have lapses in their memory too. Look at the queue at the airport. The line with old manual passport holders usually get processed first while people with new pasports containing the chips had to swipe several times before seeking help from the officers there.
There'll be more. There's one about my fight with the automatic flush toilets. I am not about to admit defeat. Not yet.