"I like good strong words that mean something."- Louisa May Alcott
Is there a genius in the house?
Posted on January 19, 2018 @ 3:44 pm by

It’s one of my worst nightmares. My computer screen is black and it stays that way no matter what I press.

So I do what most people do — I start clicking keys with wild abandon in hopes I can bring it back to life.

The computer fights back. In self defence, it begins asking for passwords and ID numbers; alphanumeric combination I invariably get wrong because I’m so panicked. The crisis escalates on both sides. Now my computer is having a full blown tantrum. It shuts down altogether.

My only hope is to put myself into the hands of an Apple Genius. I head for the Apple Store with the focus and speed of a first responder.

Tablet in hand, an Apple Greeter does the first assessment. Prognosis isn’t good. My computer is very, very cold. (It’s been in my car for the past half hour—like me—and apparently, this is not a preferable state for “ultimate performance.”) The screen remains blank so I’m triaged to the next level of care.

This means a return trip the next morning for a walk-in appointment. Reality sets in. I’ll have to go 18 hours on the dark side of the moon without a computer. I calculate the time in blocks: there’s sleeping, eating, napping, perhaps a bath…I think I can fill most of the hours. Tough, but doable.

I’m at the Apple store by 10 am and get my name on the list. There’s already a line up outside the store (I mean, is there ANY store these days other than Apple where people line up just to enter?)

I now wait to be summoned via text to the Genius Bar. I’m warned that depending on the seriousness of other “incidents” that day, I could wait a few hours. I lug my portable laptop around the mall, then settle into some serious clothes shopping. Just when I’m the farthest away in a small change room full of bargain blouses, I get a message. Text#1 gently suggests I make my way back to the Apple Store. Text#2 threatens to cancel the appointment if I don’t show up immediately.

I tear out of the store, begging the cashier to protect my abandoned clothes. Running the length of the Eaton centre and up 3 escalators, I arrive before a dreaded third text arrives. Breathing rather heavily, I’m ushered to the back of the store and told to expect my genius any minute.

Waiting for test results is the worse. Did I come in time? Would it have mattered if I’d done something differently (like kept it warm?) Will I ever see my computer again?

A lady across the counter looks at my curiously. I figure she’s wondering why I got a stool and she didn’t.

That’s when I realize my shirt is on backwards.

Fortunately, my genius doesn’t notice (I’m not even sure he noticed that I’m female). And then, without judgment, he explains that the screen goes black if the monitor brightness is turned to the lowest setting. He literally presses 2 keys and everything springs back to life.

“There’s nothing wrong with your computer,” he says. ‘


I ask if he’s sure, hoping there’s at least some other reason that I’ve lost a night’s sleep, a day of billable hours, and left some really great bargains on the floor of Reitmans.

He looks at me curiously (perhaps now he’s noticed that the v neck on my shirt goes down my back and not my front.)“Your computer is fine, ”he repeats.

I return to the store where I’ve left assorted clothes on the floor and rationalize that by buying all of them, I’m still ahead. After all,  I didn’t have to fork out for a computer repair.(I also fix my shirt situation).

Then I text my daughter to give her the update. She’s been monitoring my general state of mind for the past 24 hours. I see the familiar three dots as she types her response:

“I’d say it was a of a complicated way to buy a bunch of blouses.

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