You know what they say about spiritual awakenings? They happen when you least expect them.
My journey used to be mostly church related. But that got expensive, what with the peace and love brunches afterward at IHOP. For a while, I expanded my spiritual horizons to include the Most Holy Internet, where I discovered a connection with Facebook friends I’ve never met, and saw pictures of women who look 23 but are really 59 and even their doctors don’t know why. Also, there are hot singles in my area waiting to meet me.
But recently, realizing we all need connection, and moved by a deeply religious shopping experience (Target – sleepwear), I began composing the Great American Spiritual Novel. Tapping away on the keyboard, snacks and diet soda at my side, I experienced a disruption in my emerging awareness: computer trouble.
This is never pretty.
“Ted,” I call to my husband, intently studying his computer screen.
“Ted?” I repeat, “My margins won’t line up.”
“Just a second,” he says. “Doing research.”
He gets up.
“Can I sit there?” he asks, now at my side, pointing to my chair.
Oh, no. I imagine everything I’ve ever written vanishing in a single tap of a wrong key.
Now, as he pokes around my keyboard, I bite whatever nails I have left, and our traditional computer argument gets under way. He says his computer brand is superior to mine, that this problem would never, ever happen on his. I call him elitist. He says I should have bought a … well, it’s the kind of conversation that makes me feel at one with the universe.
He finally gives up in frustration.
“Leave it,” he says. “I’ll look at it tomorrow.”
If there’s one thing my growing spirituality has taught me, it’s about trust and patience. I have none.
I wait for him to fall asleep on the couch with his book. I’ll work on it and when he wakes up I’ll have a big Ha-Ha-I-Told-You-So moment – one of my favorite spiritual experiences.
I get on the Internet, and type in a key phrase – the name of my software program. The first link that pops up has a toll-free number. Take that, snoring man on sofa!
I call and a man I can barely understand answers. I figure I’m good. He says he can help. Yes, it’s free. I am feeling all kinds of happy and glowing now. It’s only minutes (so efficient) before he transfers me to a nice lady in a chat box to fix the problem by remote access. Well, OK, I guess.
Although I have great trust in humankind and believe that deep down, people are good, this gives me pause.
Before I can say “Wait a minute,” my cursor is doing its own thing on the screen, hands-free. Getting into hidden places. Mysterious boxes, cryptic phrases and numbers appear rapid-fire. Chat Lady is circling things in red.
I look over at Sleeping Beauty. Part of me thinks maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Now, Chat Lady is typing.
What is this, ninth-grade sex ed class?
“My problem is margins,” I type, hope springing less eternally than before.
“…can fix your problem…have to protect-”
“I have virus protection!” I fire back, and BTW, my margins are now perfect.
My trust in human nature merges with a queasy feeling in my stomach, as I break out in a cold sweat – either a spiritual awakening or a Guinness World Records panic attack.
“This is free, right?” I type. Just to reconfirm.
“No this premium support.” I might add that her improper sentence structure and punctuation are revealing her as maybe not my cyber soulmate.
“But aren’t you part of …” I shoot back the name of the software company. I know. Shoot isn’t a very peaceful spiritual word to use. (Note to self: Avoid trademarked company name. Don’t have time to fight lawsuit while pursuing spiritual path.)
Chat Imposter Lady types the name of her company which is (duh) not the one I thought I’d called and now, in a rush of I-See-The-Light-And-The-Light-Says-I’m-An-Idiot, I fire back:
“Get off my computer. I’m reporting this.”
And like magic from the universe, all the boxes disappear.
Next, my sacred journey takes the form of dozens of calls to secure, report and change passwords, anticipation of sleep deprivation (they say that it can be just like fasting – very, very enlightening) and reassurance (oh, God) from my loving husband, now awakened by my shrieking, that it will all be OK and why didn’t I just wait until the morning to let him help?
Then he hugs me. About a billion times. And gets me yogurt pops from the freezer. Actually, three. And he hugs me some more.
And finally? I feel that nice, loving, spiritual connection.