How do I tell my printer that my computer just isn’t that into it? The message couldn’t be clearer: the printer and computer are failing to communicate. How do I know it’s my computer and not my printer? Because my printer is trying. It is dishing out pages of documents stored in the cue from years ago. It’s embarrassing to watch. I am actually embarrassed for my printer – it’s so needy.
And my computer is failing to reply. It’s frozen. The silent treatment. It all started when I was notified by my computer that my printer’s ink was low. I tried to shield it from my printer, to protect its feelings. It hasn’t taken the whole “we need some space” thing well since the partnership went wireless.
After replacing the ink jets and aligning the pages, something went wrong between them. I am searching the trouble shooting page and it says nothing about how to let my printer down easy. And now I’m late for a conference on communication. I was attempting to print the email confirmation when the whole problem erupted. So, now not only am I late, but quite honestly not qualified to deliver the message.
I know my printer is bitter, resentful; classic passive aggressive behavior pouring out page after page. I wish it would stop. And now my computer has really dug its heels in, waking from its frozen state, it fires back update and upgrade notifications, taunting my printer that it can be replaced at any time by a multitude of products that are better, faster.
And then it dawns on me, I am literally caught in a very toxic and devastating triangulated relationship. Everything has fallen away. My family, my home, my work, my joy, and time has literally stood still as I attempt to disengage myself from the abuse.
I finally shut them both down. And I hate this shaming behavior, but I am left no other choice. I contemplate walking away, but I can’t. I am as drawn to the drama and crisis as each of them are to each other. I re-boot. I open the document, and then I click print. While I wait, I grab a glimpse of a conscious thought: I am not a silent participant in this toxic waste at all, I am actively engaging with both of them. I shrug and concede. What else is there for me to do?
I look at my phone. I can still make the last 20 minutes of the presentation. I wait while my printer sulks, slowly initiating its engagement. The paper jams. I think, really? Haven’t you already made your point and don’t you know this just pisses the computer off more? I clear the jam, click o.k. and then my computer masterfully delivers its final blow – ink low, replace cartridge. Well played, computer. Well played.
I’m about to shame them both again, and then I realize something. I don’t need either of them. I have my phone. I have the email confirmation. The phone is my ticket. The phone is my way in and out of this painful triangle. Victoriously I grab my phone to find the screen black except for the tiny bar at the bottom that is inching forward, progress not noted to the naked eye. In my haste to look away from the train wreck of a relationship between the (I refuse to call either of them my or mine anymore) printer and the computer, I accepted an update. As the progress creeps and crawls along, I slump in the chair. No comforting glow of the phone screen for company, just the blinking red light of the printer to keep me engaged, hooked.
The sun is shining, geese fly overhead as the fall leaves etch flight patterns to the ground. A perfect pattern of random communication. I see none of it. What I have before me and in me is a failure to communicate.