Recognizing the Unfamiliar – TLWM 6B

Jane rubbed her temple. “Look, I’m sorry.” She turned to Arjie and smiled, the sunlight from an exterior window beaming in and highlighting her long blond hair. “You’re doing me a real favor here, and I appreciate it. I’ve been a real pain in the ass so far — I’ll knock it off.”

Jane finished entering her new password, and pressed Enter. Arjie nodded, both in appreciation and relief, as the image on the screen changed.

“Hey!” For the first time that morning, Jane seemed excited. “Those look like the apps on my smart phone.” She leaned forward, pressed her index finger against the monitor screen.

Arjie grabbed her wrist, pulled her arm back. “It’s not a touch screen. This isn’t a smart phone, it’s a computer.”

“Oh.” Jane was genuinely disappointed, because with Wings’ help over the past several evenings she had become quite comfortable using her smart phone. Jane had turned to her young friend after reading her phone’s user manual, which she found dull and unhelpful; Wings told her to toss the manual, suggested she just play with her phone, ask questions when she got stuck and get help if something went wrong. You don’t do no reading about technology, you use it. Wings had been great, coming over every evening for several hours, sitting on the couch with both legs curled up under her, watching television or using her own smart phone and occasionally serving as Jane’s instructor, savior, and sounding board.

Arjie used the odd devices next to the keyboard to open the drafting program used at Crasob Engineering. Jane soon recognized the Route 20 drawings she had worked on the week before; they may not have been on paper like she’d remembered, but they were all there on screen — survey plats, drainage profiles, stage construction plans, box culvert diagrams, quantities. She became fully engaged and attentive, as did Arjie, the younger man relieved to finally see something that looked like the dynamic Jane Summers he had known and admired, like a vivacious aunt. The two of them lost track of time, and when Gary walked into the CAD room Jane was only mildly surprised to see that they had been at the computer for nearly two hours.

Gary walked to their desk, slapped Jane quickly on the back of her shoulder, then asked Arjie how the student was doing. Arjie leaned back, widening his eyes. “It’s been — interesting, to say the least.” He stroked his goatee. “I mean, she’s got a lot of questions and doesn’t seem too happy with some of my answers — ”

She held up the mouse that Arjie had shown how to use that morning. “Looks to me more like a cat stretching its front legs forward.”

“If it wasn’t wireless — the old ones had a wire, it looked like a long tail — ” Arjie stopped himself, as Gary laughed. “Anyway, she’s definitely getting it. A lot of what she learned from her smart phone, she’s able to transfer to the computer.”

Gary slapped his large hands together. “Fantastic. Had a feeling this would work.” He turned to Jane. “Doesn’t it feel like, a month has passed since Monday?”


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