Some things are just so embarrassing that it is impossible to think about them without a deep shudder, and an accompanying clench of one’s anus. So why am I sitting here, poking it with my tongue per se (the memory, not my anus) like a sore tooth and rehashing this mornings horror over and over again?
I can’t help it. It just won’t go away.
I’ll start from the beginning; earlier this week I came to terms with the fact that my decade plus old IMac was now only one step up on the evolutionary scale from Wilma Flintstone’s pterodactyl typewriter, as nothing worked on it. I couldn’t use Google Chrome, I couldn’t open PDF’s and about five minutes after turning it on, it would hum alarmingly as if it might take off and peruse the sitting room ceiling, so I took a deep breath and forked out nearly £1200 on a new one, then left the old one at the store for them to do a data transfer.
So this morning I set off to pick both the antique and the spanking new IMac, and to attend my first one hour ‘One to One’ session where I would be taught how to use all the new fangled stuff that Apple have developed over the last twelve years.
I should have been excited, but I was full of trepidation to the extent that I had to take a beta blocker before I set off.
You see, my Imac is to me what Dorian Gray’s portrait was to him.
From the outside I look like a relatively normal middle aged woman. Whilst my Imac does not house a photo of me as a raging, ancient Medusa-like hag with red, Amnityville pig eyes and a toothless mouth, it does contain hundreds of documents containing all of my insane outpourings, drunken rants, accounts of my love/hate relationship with sex, letters of complaint to those companies who dared cross me, vitriolic correspondence to my last employer, diary entries of my illness, and general pain, heartache and wish I was dead diatribes.
As I drive I’m trying to do an ‘Aunty C’ and channel the ‘Good Parent’ in order to quell the rising tide of paranoia within.
‘Come on!,’ laughs GP ‘these people are worked back to back from the moment they arrive to the minute they go home! Do you honestly think they have the time or inclination to go through all your documents?’
‘No,oo,’ I/the Child muses, ‘I suppose not.’
‘There you go then!’ GP is triumphant, ‘nothing to worry about whatsoever.’
‘Well not all of them. But what about ones with interesting titles?’
GP sighs. ‘They won’t be going in the folders to notice the titles?’
‘What if they’re spooling across the monitor whilst they’re doing the transfer? What if someone spots something with ‘Sex’ or ‘Menopause’ in the title flying across the screen?’
‘They won’t be looking! They’ll have…’
‘Cos you’d open it wouldn’t you? If you saw something with an interesting title? You’d have to be a zombie not to pause that transfer, stop and take a closer look?’
‘No! Of course not, I….’
‘And then, once they started, they wouldn’t stop. They’d open more. They’d call their mates over and have a damn good laugh. They they’d email it to their friends. Then it would go round the world. Then it would be in the Daily Mail. Then they’d track me down and I’ be hounded and ridiculed and….’
‘GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!’
Clearly I haven’t mastered this ‘Good Parent Reassures Child’ malarky as by the time I get to the Apple Store, I’m in a cold sweat, twitching with anxiety, not helped by the fact that I’m about half an hour late.
I’m approached by one of the blue sweatshirt clad Apple clan and tell her what I’m there for. She asks me my name.
I scour her face focusing on her mouth for twitches of amusement, her eyes for disgusted glee and whilst she hides it very well, i note that she has taken two steps back away from me.
She smiles and tells me she’ll go and get Mitch for me.
Mitch? I hope it’s not a bloke.
Mitch is indeed a bloke, a big geezer with a warm smile and welcoming manner. He shakes my hand and steers me to a table, where we sit, whilst he unpacks my new IMac and starts to talk me through the changes.
I scrutinise him too, when he’s not looking. He seems to be behaving normally.
‘Shall we open and check your email?’
I knew this would be a point of contention (‘What if they read my emails? What if they hack into my bank account, what if…, yada, yada…’) so I’d taken my account off the system in advance. He was puzzled when it wasn’t there but I reassured him that this was fine and i would reinstall it when I get home.
‘OK, let’s open your photos.’
Shit. What do I have on there? My palms have gone all warm.
I open it; up pops recipe blog pictures, a couple of photos of me with my best friend, some snaps of the cats.
‘Ha, ha, glad nothing inappropriate came up there!’
What the fuck did I say that for?
‘Well you’re an attractive lady so it wouldn’t be a problem for me!’
Huh? Why did he say that? Does he think that I’m on the pull? Or a slapper? What has he read? My ‘I’m desperate for a shag’ blog entry?
Just at that moment, he glanced over his head at a colleague; the colleagues look is questioning. He stares back that shakes his head ever so slightly. No.
What does that mean? Is it about me? Is he saying something in code?
This is what it’s like being me, constantly questioning, suspicious, accussary, on my guard, frightened. No wonder my fucking imaginary parent has legged it in disgust.
i have to think fast now; most blog articles are in a folder called Blog, so just don’t go near Blog….
I take a deep breath and open Documents. Much to my relief, every contentious document has been filed neatly away out of sight. If he’s already seen stuff I can’t do anything about that, but I can prevent him from catch sight of anything dodgy now.
‘Do you want to open a folder and check everything’s OK?’
I click on ‘YogaTeachingNotes’ and open a PDF. It’s fine.
Phew. Nearly done, hang on in there Sista….
Mitch frowns ‘Oh there’s a note here! it looks like you saved some documents to your desk top and left them there so we put them in here for you.’
He clicks on a folder called Untitled, and there they are.
We both stare transfixed at the screen.
My blood has turned to ice water and is draining steadily from my face and pooling at my neck, which is hot and turning bright red.
‘OK, is everything there? Good!’
He exits swiftly not waiting for a response. I excuse myself and head to the bathroom whilst he packs up my new purchase and sit on the loo seat for 5 minutes and wait for my composure to return. It would have been 10 minutes but I didn’t want to give him time to say anything to his mates and make this very public humiliation worse, if that is possible.
I return to the desk, my face betraying nothing.
He too looks normal again and is stood next to a spotty youth who is looking at his feet.
‘So, here’s both of your machines, Ian will bring them to your car and I hope you enjoy your new IMac! Oh, and let me know once you start teaching yoga I may well drop by for a class!’
He laughs, all professional, debonair, assured. Bless him.
Then I ruin it.
I mean to say ‘Sure, look me up!’ but I manage to get the last two words the wrong way round.
There is a minute of appalled silence then Ian snickers. Mitch looks at me and we both burst out laughing.
Yep, erm, sorry, can I detract that invitation please?!’
My walk to the car park with Ian, I’m sure you can imagine, was like walking the green mile to the electric chair. Outside his work environment and with the words ‘Look up me!’ ringing in his ears, Ian was no longer amused, just terribly embarrassed; like me, wished he was somewhere, anywhere else, trying not to look at this woman old enough to be his mum, and most of all, trying not to think about her 50 year old minnie.
After an hour or so I arrived home and set up my new baby. She is lovely, state of the art impressive and looks like she will last a long time.
She had better. Because it will be another decade before i ever go back to that branch again.