Thursday, March 30, 2006

Asset management

I’m typing this entry at the office, watching the letters spill out on my new computer monitor. It’s fancy. Flat screen. Wide screen. All that fun stuff. Sorry, I don’t know all the techie particulars - the cool-kid jargon.

The timing is perfect. One - because I’ve started to watch the occasional DVD movie here on my office computer so the extra-wide screen will come in handy. Oh - not entire movies, mind you. Just the last 20 or 30 minutes. You see the DVD player at home is going a little psycho on us. It only plays the first hour and 10 minutes of a movie faithfully and then everything goes apeshit. Seems to overheat. You pop the DVD out and you find it’s pretty toasty. I took to leaving it until the next night, leaving it time to cool and then returning to watch the last half-hour. That worked - for a while. Doesn’t seem to work anymore. I even tried popping the DVD in the freezer for 10 minutes. I know. I know. You think I’m some kind of moron, don’t you? But it worked! You had to let it sit another 3 minutes while it de-fogged, but it worked. At least it used to, for a while.

Now nothing works. Once it overheats there’s just no returning to that movie. It’s crazy. It’s like evil little agents of chaos live in the DVD player, developing counter-measures to all of my short-lived remedies. They probably look like miniature monkeys, hairless, wearing little while lab coats. Sea-monkeys perhaps. They have tiny metallic teeth and lots of antennae sticking out of their heads - like a cat detector van or a black Impala.

Where the HELL was I going with this?

Okay - reason number two that this was good timing: My monitor at home - a little 15-incher, 10 years old just like my computer at home - has started to go a little too wonky on me. The display is now skewing to the left a little more than the position controls can compensate for.

So the good I.T. manager here at the office said “Go ahead, take your old office monitor home with you. Just don’t tell anyone.”

“Thank you! I won’t say a word!” I vowed. Hmm. I hope posting it on the internet doesn’t count.

So last night I carried this lovely big 17-inch monitor out of the office, having worked late. No one in our office saw me. But down in the lobby I was approached by an office neighbor. He was delighted to see me, having forgotten his security pass that day. After 6 PM you need to swipe your pass to get out of the building.

“Will you let me out?” he begged.

“Of course,” said I, “If you’ll open the doors for me.” Lots of doors in this extended lobby area, you see. Like every 8 feet. It’s like some kind of obstacle course from that crazy Japanese show they dub on American TV.

“That’s a fair deal,” my neighbor exclaims. He holds all the doors for me while I struggle with the damned monitor, my back beginning to break.

At the final door I must swipe to exit. There’s a shallow ledge by the reader so I rest an edge of the monitor on it so that I can steady it with one arm and my belly and still negotiate the swiping with the other hand.

“Can I help you with that?” my new friend asks.

“Nope. I got it.”

“I guess you have it down to a science, eh?” he jokes, mistaking me for a computer repair guy, I suppose.

“No,” I said, straight faced. “This is the first time I’ve stolen a monitor.”

He laughs heartily. For about 1.5 seconds. Then his face goes very still.

“You’re joking, right?”

“Yes,” I say. “I’m joking.”

Later, after tumbling the beast into my trunk (the monitor, not the witness) I arch my back in relief.

I see my neighbor now leaving in his car. He goes out of his way to drive right by me. To take note of my license plate I presume.


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