A Difficult Student and Ambivalent Teacher – The Land Without Mosquitos 6A

“Boot up?” Jane Summers leaned back in her chair, the sardonic grin of the disbeliever worn on her face with relish. “You mean you have to kick-start this thing?”Arjie rolled his eyes as he swiveled in his chair, away from the computer screen and towards Jane. “It’s just what we call it when it starts. Like I was saying before, don’t get caught up in the terminology, just learn as much as you can.”

The CAD Room of Crasob Engineering was empty this Saturday morning, save for Arjie and Jane. Gary was also in the building, perhaps in his office, perhaps the Milwaukee conference room, looking to avoid the distraction of his desk phone ringing.

Jane pointed at the monitor. “What the hell does that mean?”

Arjie answered like a teacher giving a lesson from the head rather than the heart. “You have to hit three keys to get to the login screen.” He nodded down at the keyboard, then motioned for Jane to roll her chair up to the desk.

Jane complied, looking down at the keyboard like it was a mysterious meal. “So that’s what I use this typewriter for?”

“Keyboard.” Arjie leaned towards Jane, the impatience on his face turning his goatee into a dagger. “Look, I know this is all strange to you, but if this is gonna work, you gotta stop thinking the world should be like you think you remember it was, but what it actually is. And this — ” he slapped the keyboard without looking — “is not a typewriter, it’s a board. With keys. KEY – BOARD. Got it?”

Jane threw up her hands. “OK! It’s a keyboard.” She rolled her chair up to the desk. “So you want to show me how to — log into this thing?”

Arjie sighed, showed her the keys used to get to the login screen. Jane decided not to ask why the Control and Alternate keys weren’t fully labeled, since the keys were certainly wide enough to accommodate all the letters.

Arjie walked Jane through the process of logging on to the Crasob network with her laptop, explaining that he had IT reset her password the other day. Jane entered the password, and pressed the Enter key.

Jane stared at the screen in confusion, then turned to Arjie. “Change Password? I thought you said it was already changed.”

Arjie nodded. “This happens whenever your password’s reset. Your new password’s only temporary, you have to change it after you use it.”

Jane raised her eyebrows, turned back to the screen. “That sucks.” She looked down at the keyboard, quickly pressed several keys, then pressed the Enter key. The message on the screen changed. “I have to enter it again?”

Arjie raked his stringy brown hair with the fingers of his right hand. “You have to confirm it, so that the computer knows you typed it in right.”

“But I did type it in right. How does the computer know I didn’t do it right the second time?”

“Just — ” Arjie straightened himself in his chair, exhaled heavily. “This is going to be a long day, isn’t it?”


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