unique computer fragrances
Monday, November 10 2003
I had a housecall today to fix a computer belonging to a guy in a wheelchair. I showed up about ten minutes early, knocked on the door, and found no evidence of life inside. I was relieved, however, to see "Computer Guy Monday 2PM" written on a dry erase board in the dining room. So I went out to my truck and hung out for a little while (I really need to keep some reading material in there). Maybe my client had gone somewhere and would return shortly.
Eventually a car pulled up and an Asian woman got out and went into the apartment. A minute later I showed up at the door. It turned out that this woman was one of my client's aids and he had been taking one of his "power naps" as he calls them - these follow his morning physical therapy sessions.
As I worked on the computer, I noticed that the apartment smelled strongly of Asian cuisine. At first the client insisted that I wasn't the right computer guy, that he was expecting an older gentleman, but when I said my name was "Gus" his mood brightened and all was well.
The computer had such a fundamental problem that I decided I should just take it home with me. To help my client's memory (which is apparently affected by whatever keeps him in a wheelchair), he had me and the Asian helper woman write the time and date I'd be returning on the dry erase board. This client spoked with a muffled, slurring voice, but he seemed bright and witty nonetheless. He started telling me a joke he'd cracked a couple days ago over the phone, about how I would bring him "back into the 21st Century." Evidently he hadn't remembered telling this joke before, and when I completed it for him, he seemed amazed, saying "You took the words right out of my mouth!"
Later, after I had the computer set up in my laboratory, I realized it smelled strongly of Asian cuisine. It's been my experience that computers typically smell strongly of the rooms they've been operated in, perhaps because of all the air they suck through themselves. Nothing smells worse than a computer belonging to a chain smoker. But short of something so overwhelming, there are lots of other possible computer fragrances, most of them unpleasant. One computer I worked on actually had a trace of the halitosis odor from its owner's father.
For dinner, Gretchen and I met Katie at La Pupuseria, and we had one of our typical meals there. The food is always great at La Pupuseria, but (since it has a small kitchen and everything is made by hand) it does vary from time to time. Today it seemed the pupusas and pickled cabbage were both even more delicious than usual. But then again, I'd been so hungry that after I was done eating I realized I could have eaten a sixth pupusa without difficulty.
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