Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Two things

Today I went to visit a friend, and learned two things.

The first thing I learned was that I have been in Japan too long. I got up rather late (classes start NEXT week) but still somehow managed to run late. The plan was for me to pretend to be a computer expert, and 'fix' my friend's computer. (This means doing a few routine things that astonish her because she knows even less than I do.) Somehow I still hadn't had breakfast when I left the house at around 2pm, and popped into a bakery on the way and bought something to eat, thinking I'd eat it on the train or on the platform while I was waiting for the train.

As I walked down to the platform the train arrived, I got on, and discovered I couldn't eat my breakfast.

That was the first discovery. I have been in Japan long enough to remember a time when eating on the train was such horribly bad manners that you just didn't do it. (Unless it is a long distance train, of course, in which case you bring enough food to keep an army on the march for a week and start eating before the train even leaves the platform. But I was not on a long distance train.)

I sat with my breakfast in a bag on my lap and pondered the situation. Something was stopping me from opening the bag, although I could smell the freshly baked bread roll and it was making me feel faint. I could wait, I decided. I would eat it when I got to my friend's place.

Meanwhile, a couple of teenagers sitting opposite me opened a box of Pocky, a packet of pastries, a bag of chips, and a couple of soft drinks, and started munching on their picnic. Disgusting! muttered the middle-aged Japanese person who had taken up residence inside my head sometime in the last ten years when I wasn't looking. How rude!

Eating on the platform would have been all right if it wasn't crowded and if I was discreet about it. But eating on the train? What sort of person do you think I AM?

The second thing I discovered is that when you're showing a friend how to use something on her computer it's the simplest things that make the biggest impression. I was walking her through something 1 and she had several windows open. I told her to close the windows. She started closing them one by one.

"COMMAND-OPTION-W," I shouted. (You can grow old watching a mouse-clicker close windows.)

She complied, and the windows all vanished. "EH?" she said. "What was that again? Tell me!" and wrote it down in her little notebook.

Does knowing keyboard shortcuts make you a geek? I always thought there was a bit more to it than that.

1. Nothing complicated. I learned everything I know from Mac For Dummies circa 1994, and she is also still on OS 9.


Faerunner said...

It is a little geeky to know keyboard shortcuts... but it's not nearly as bad as knowing what to type in at a DOS or Linux command prompt (something I'm still learning).

Sorry you had to wait so long for breakfast. I know how it goes - if we weren't allowed to eat in class I'd go hungry some days, and every time I bring food to a class the bit of me that's still used to high school rules says "Hey, you can't eat in here!"

Faerunner said...

Oh! I forgot to mention - I love Pocky! ^_^ (My friend discovered it at a nearby store a few months ago, how wonderful!)

Paula said...

Pocky's yummy! There's a cool Japanese market/mini-mall here with all kinds of neato foods like that and wonderful takeout sushi trays.

What's really sad is when my mom asks *me* for 'puter help!

Lippy said...

In this case, 'geeky' is synonymous with smart enough to learn how to do things quickly, and clever enough to use it. At least your friend had the good sense to write it down - unlike my friends who keep on calling for help with the same thing until I say "RTFM!!"