Exasperating Problems

I love my wife dearly, but sometimes she’s just frustrating. For example, when she has some technical problem (say, with the iPod or the computer) that she needs solved, I’ll come in and help her out, but she gets impatient - as I’m trying to explain the answer, she’s already stopped listening. She doesn’t want to hear why the answer is what it is, she just wants to have her immediate problem solved right now thank you very much.

I do my best to be very pleasant during these exchanges, but it’s exasperating, and it takes its toll on my sanity. Take, for instance, a recent exchange I had with one of my co-workers trying to determine why a particular method was returning a value he didn’t expect:

Travis: Okay, so the thing is returning this answer to you because – Michael: I need to know how to get it to return this other thing though. T: Right, but after that, you’re going to need to know how to – M: But how do I get it to return the answer I want? T: Well, you have to do set this parameter this way before you can – M: That sounds really complicated. I’m just trying to do something simple. How do I get it to do what I want? T: I’m getting to that, but there are a few steps that – M: I’m already not listening. What if I just type this in here and hit this button? [He types something in and hits the button.] T: Um, that’s not going to – M: Hey, that’s not working. What about if I try this other thing and hit the button? [Types this other thing in and hits the button.] T: That’s not going to – M: It’s not working. I don’t understand why it’s not working. I just need it to – T: [Exasperated] Look, hon, I can’t tell you how to do what you want to do until you stop and listen to me. M: [Silence] T: I just totally called you “honey,” didn’t I?

Yeah, I did. It was exactly like one of the exchanges I’ve had altogether far too often with my own very loved - but very impatient with technology - wife.

It got really hot in that cubicle for a couple of seconds. And then we laughed our asses off.