When I was about five years old I got to hold a newborn baby.
This was a very important and special moment in my young life. And while completely caught up in the excitement of this auspicious occasion, I let the baby slip out of my hands, bump its head on the floor and start crying.
I learned a valuable lesson that day about the importance of being careful with delicate things.
A few short years later, I was nine years old and my baby cousin, Pippa, was just one. I was roller blading through the kitchen when Pippa asked me to pick her up. I obliged and promptly slipped over (I was still wearing roller blades) smacking Pippa’s head on the kitchen tiles.
She also cried.
I guess some lessons are so valuable they need to be learned twice.
Also, kids are soft.
I started reminiscing about this the other day when it dawned on me that my propensity to damage important things remains alive and well.
While I am no longer (as much of) a danger to young children, I seem to have residual brain block when it comes to caring for technology. Something which has escalated in recent months.
To establish a context, my achievements in damage and destruction over the past few years include, but are not limited to:
- Dropped Blackberry in the toilet
- Lost brand new Canon camera in the Lake District of northern England just weeks after purchasing
- Left brand spanking new Nokia phone in a toilet at Singapore airport.
- Bought an iPhone 3 to replace the Nokia which replaced the Blackberry and dropped it onto the bitumen outside my parent’s house the day I bought it, scratching it up nicely.
- Broke three hands-free phone sets and my iPod.
- Was given Callum’s old iPod to replace my broken one and lost it several months later. I never told Callum. To be fair, I found it (well, Callum found it) earlier this year in a mouldy, old gym bag when we were moving bedrooms.
- Bought a lovely new Macbook Pro and took it toEnglandwith me on a holiday. Before going to the pub one night, I hid it under my doona thinking it an ingenious place to hide my sexy hardware from Moss Side thieves. Not five minutes later, my friend Cate jumped on the bed and cracked the screen. It was four days old.
- I jammed two CDs into the CD player of my new car without thinking. Didn’t realise what the problem was for an embarrassingly long time.
- Lost another hands free set due to an unfortunate incident with a washing machine and some taco sauce.
- During an obsessive retro J-Lo phase, I borrowed Callum’s brand new 160 gigabyte iPod and stored it safely in my handbag. Went to the city to buy myself a Japanese bento box lunch with teriyaki chicken. While paying for parking on the way out, I rested the bento box on my handbag while punching in a pin number, not realising that the lid had come loose and the teriyaki sauce was spilling all through my bag and over the iPod.
- Took it back to the office for clean up. After several attempts with a damp cloth, it remained sticky, so I risked a lightning quick rinse under the tap.
- iPod subsequently stopped working. Callum not impressed.
- I am indignant. It was an accident. I didn’t know the teriyaki sauce would leak. I tried to clean it up. I know it was new. Gosh.
- I watched a movie using our epic terabyte hard drive that contains hundreds of movies and TV shows and important personal documents belonging to Callum and my late father-in-law.
- I must have dozed off during the movie because I woke with a start a little later on thanks to a violent explosion sequence. In a sleepy haze, I pull out the connecting cables to shut down the hard drive. Callum came home at 3am to find me asleep, with the hard drive upside down on the bed and my cracked laptop still open.
- The next day I decide to finish watching the film and take the hard drive from the bedroom to the living room to plug it in to the main TV. As I go to reconnect the cables, I find that the portals are missing. They are non existent. Adios. Nada. Zip.
- Confused I shake the hard drive and a clanging metallic sound confirms my suspicion that the portals have come loose and escaped into the bosom of the hard drive to hang out with old episodes of the office and a few Josh Duhamel romantic comedies.
- Callum is mad. Very mad. He brings up the teriyaki incident, which is still a sore point.
- I am indignant. Very indignant.
- It could have happened to anyone! It had all the hallmarks of classic ‘wear and tear’.
- Callum is convinced I broke it. I am convinced that this would have happened to whoever touched it next. He tells me to stop taking risks with valuable technology and start ‘playing the percentages’.
- Fuming at being likened to technological kryptonite, I take myself off in a huff to the garage to continue some furniture renovations I have underway.
- Determined to prove my protective aptitude, I carefully install our iPod dock, not on the dusty floor, but on a yet-to-be-renovated chair and string the cord across a doorway to a power plug, making a mental note to be extra careful when going in and out.
- I spend an hour or so listening to cathartically offensive rap songs about the black struggle.
- I give myself mad props as I carefully step over the power cord on my way in to make a cup of tea, but get sidetracked on the way back and walk straight into the cord as I re-enter the garage.
- I watch the iPod dock and my new iPhone 4 breakdance together across the cement floor, narrowly miss my paint tray, fly through a pile of wood shavings and come to rest by our steam mop.
- I think to myself ‘oh, that was close’. And continue on with my painting and sanding.
- Callum points out to me that it wasn’t ‘close’, that I had actually damaged not one, but two more gadgets.
- Felt very justified when my cathartically offensive rap tunes continued to play. But did not hazard an attempt to play them until Callum had left the room in case I had actually caused yet another untimely technological death.
So why do I tell you these things?
What can we learn from this post-modern fable?
Mostly that children and technology are resilient creatures; generally things work out. But if they don’t, there’s plenty more where they came from.