Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wielding Scissors

This morning, I woke up ready to do some very serious surgery. On my computer.

Don’t laugh.

See, it is like this. I have this temperamental laptop; has some weird spirits within its innards. I have never examined them, and was about to do just that this morning. Luckily for the computer, I did not.

This laptop greets me by name when I switch it on. (Says goodbye when I switch it off; what more evidence of possession do you want?)

It used to have this weird habit I thought was tamed until recently. There was something wrong with the cursor, or pointer, or whatever that spear like thing is which moves when I move the misnamed mouse. It would work perfectly well for a few days, and then it would be possessed. The spirit of miscellaneous drift.

I would switch on the laptop, be welcomed, and then see the cursor/pointer bang in the middle of the screen. Then it would drift. Slowly, carefully, towards one corner. I would pull it back, and it would return. I learnt to pull it towards the opposite end. We would wrestle, back and forth, till the spirit decided to get cleverer.

It started jumping from one corner of the screen to another. It would dash to the opposite corner when I was pulling it to one. It grew progressively worse. Started the habit of moving around the screen, opening and closing windows as it saw fit. Dancing haphazardly. By that time I would give up, exhausted by the fight between man and machine. Postpone the battle for a few hours, hoping the possessing spirit had calmed by the time I returned. Sometimes it would stay eerily calm after a couple of days of absolutely impossible possession. I would work to catch up on the things which I was supposed to have done when the machine was possessed, hoping that it would not return too soon.

I sourced for solutions. Pastor Ssempa for special dispensation to exorcise this spirit of possession?

I was told to update the driver. Done. Then change the sampling rate to 200. But the maximum it could go was 100 things per whatever. Then there was this computer forum which has a never fail solution. Open up the laptop, see the two lines or wires to the mouse guide whatever, take scissors and presto, cut one.

That surgery, apparently solves the spirit of possession.

Sincerely, my skills at this are so miniscule, I almost dared to ask Pastor Ssempa for divine intervention. For the last couple of days, I was getting madder, and madder, until, as the malaria lifted, I decided that I was not as woozy as I am, that I would have to do the dreaded. Open the laptop and try to identify the wires to cut.

But, you know what, I put on the laptop one last time, and it welcomes me, and the cursor is dead center. It has been like so for the last 12 hours at least. Almost impossible to believe.

So, I put off the surgery to the next time that the spirit returns. Hoping that I do it well when I have to do it!

It is like this haze that has been invading Kampala.

Kampala is wooded hills and valley floors. Usually, in the morning, the air is beautiful and clean and crispy cold. The last couple of days it has not been the former. A haze of smoky exhaust cloud has been hiding the sun from us. Very frustrating.

I was not sure what it was. Thought maybe it was a fog which the sun failed to disperse.

Today, I walked through Kisenyi. I found the densest of the foggy haze. Kisenyi is a hollow, a valley which was once upon a time a river, but now is a jumble of slummy dwellings of all shapes and sizes. Anything goes in Kisenyi, and it is the industrial heart of the ‘jua kali’ artisans in Kampala. Correction. They were there before Kisenyi bulged and spread its unsavoury soup to the famous Katwe slums.

The fog was densest in this valley.

When I was through fighting to hold my breath, first I was thankful that where I live, I look out on a valley that is, most mornings, clear of air, with trees and singing birds and crispy cold air. And I realised that Kampala is so modern a city now that we are blessed by smog some days.

Like the spirit of wandering in my computer, it is not too often, but when it comes, why, even an old hand like me is ready to don the gloves and start some serious surgery!


No comments:

Post a Comment