Nina In New York: The Dawn Of A New Error
A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
My computer crashes at work on a fairly regular basis. Here’s how it goes:
Excel freezes and is not responding. I choose to force quit. I am extremely irritated, frustrated, and seconds away from putting my fist through my monitor. A window pops up:
You have chosen to end this program. Would you like to send Microsoft an error report?
You’re damn right I would! I’d like to send them an error report and a piece of my mind! Grrrr grumble grumble grumble. I click YES! with an angry flourish. I think, they should know what’s wrong with their software! They should know how I suffer, and how often. They should fix it and call me and beg my forgiveness and offer me helpful solutions and assurances and restitution in the form of cash and gadgetry.
Of course, I have gotten nothing. Not even so much as a notice that they’ve fixed the problem. Even if I got that, I’d be furious because I’d know it wasn’t true the second my computer froze up again.
And yet, I keep hitting that button. I’ve become convinced there isn’t actually an employee whose job it is to sift through error reports as they come in. I think that button is only there to keep maniacs like me from picking up the phone to have a strong word with customer service.
“Now I have to start Bejeweled all over again! Do you realize the distress you’ve caused me?! I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT AN ERROR REPORT!”
I actually think this “send error report” option could come in quite handily in many other common situations that frequently occur in New York City.
Like when a corner store owner charges you $8.0o for a quart of milk. I’d angrily hand him my money and say, “I demand to send an error report about this, sir.” And he would go, “Fine, we’ve received your report of an error and will look into the matter. Thank you for contacting us. Now take your milk and get out.”
How about if a person spits on your shoe? Error report! A pigeon poops on your head! Error report.
Obnoxious bicyclist buzzes your elbow when forty signs all over the place say “cyclists must dismount and yield to pedestrians.” Error report! Do it! Send it!
How about when the subway stops in between two stations and the conductor gets on the barely audible loudspeaker to announce that the tunnels have been invaded by giant cockroaches from outer space and she hopes to be moving in about—— and the teenager next to you chooses that precise moment to tell his friend loudly about how effed up he got last night? Oh, you bet I’m sending that error report.
Much like with my computer, nothing will ever come of this. None of this problems will ever be fixed, they’ll never change, and they’ll never stop recurring. Such is life. But how much better would you feel to send that puppy off to some nameless, faceless Help Desk whose dubious existence remains a steadfast beacon of hypothetical hope for sympathy and resolution?
Ah, well. A girl can dream. However stupid that dream is.
Yeah, I know. Error report.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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