Last week my computer went on strike. I've got a Macbook Pro - and the screen had stuck a few times but if I ignored it for a while it got the message and got going again.
This time it was more than stuck. Everything disappeared except the little arrow. I pressed all the keys (stupid, I know) and then abandoned it. Several hours later I went back and persuaded it to turn off. We both slept.
I woke up - and the computer didn't. The fan turned on, and the whirly thing swam around the screen for a while. Then, with a bit of persuading, it turned off. I walked up and down, and bit my nails, listed all those things I've been meaning to back up for ages but somehow never got round to (updated pages for the website, my accounts, poems I've written for my grandchildren ...)
I could, I thought, take it to the Mac-mending shop. Without wishing to be too stereotypical here, I began to imagine what might happen. Two geeky boys (pretending to be men, barely old enough to shave) would look very grave and say it would have to be sent away and need new whatnots and thingamies and would cost megapounds.
I began with a plan B: I rang my neighbour and asked the name of her computer-whizzy person. In less than an hour she was here, resting elegant fingers on my machine. I offered tea (I had no cake). She pressed this, that and the other - and then waited. She restarted the machine ... and there it was, my homepage. Documents ready and undamaged.
No, she said, she didn't need money - she'd not been here for five minutes.
But I must pay you, I said, coming to my rescue so quickly.
So, without getting too embroiled in gender, I can't help wondering if women working in a computer-mending shop would do the chin-stroking, this-is-serious thing; or if a man would dream of admitting that my machine was suffering nothing worse than a need for a reset and try to charge me nothing?