Have you ever had anything happen to you that is so strange, people screw up their faces and scratch their heads when you recount it?
That has been my recent experience.
It started when my trusty old computer which had served me well for quite a few years began to weary me with its slowness, its increasingly frequent freezes, its stubborn refusal sometimes to follow commands.
Besides, it was located in a dark, cramped corner of the lounge room where it could be easily connected to the phone outlet, and I had to squeeze between the piano and the sofa to get to it. The thought of buying a laptop entered my head, and once there it grew. I envisaged myself writing at the big, oak table in the cheery light of the dining room, or the quiet seclusion of the spare room, depending on how the mood took me, or even sometimes in bed at night.
Finally, with my husband's encouragement, I bought one.
"Better take an axe to the old one," I told him, following the advice of a technician. I would have taken perverse pleasure in doing it myself, but he had the muscle so I left him to it.
The day after I got my laptop, I began installing software, transferring files and generally playing around with it and getting to know it. It was everything I'd hoped for - fast, efficient, modern, lightweight and easy to carry around. Now and then I stopped to chat to someone who passed through, enjoying the company and the view from the dining room window. After awhile, I became vaguely aware that I was getting a very dry mouth and my lips were burning as though I'd been out in the sun. I have fair, sensitive skin, so I berated myself for failing to apply lipscreen that morning. As the weeks passed, though, it dawned on me that this dry, stinging sensation happened every time I sat down at my laptop. Furthermore, I was developing a faint, red rash that itched terribly.
My husband stood me in the light and inspected it with wonder. "It's right down the center of your face," he said, bemused.
What a nuisance, I thought. Why is this happening? And is it dangerous? I became wary of using my laptop, but I had no choice to at least do a minimum of things like deal with my emails. The red rash produced little hives, my nose started streaming, my chest felt tight. One day when I was catching up on browsing my favourite web sites, my throat constricted. I shut it down immediately and vowed that I would never use it again.
I was allergic to my laptop!
Now I was in a fix. I was an aspiring writer with no tool of trade. I'd wasted a considerable sum of money on a good quality laptop, and couldn't just go out and buy another computer. Besides, what if all the modern ones had the same effect? I decided to ask around and see if anyone had an old computer that they wanted to get rid of. The good news is that I have recently been given one, quite similar to my original. The bad news is that my immune system seem to have kicked off a permanent reaction, and I am still experiencing some troubling symptoms.
I've discovered through my research that I've quite likely developed a radiation sensitivity. In this case, a computer apparently emits a much lower level of radiation when it is cabled rather than wireless.
So guess what? I have put my computer back in the corner of the lounge room, near the phone outlet.
Isn't life full of ironies?
What about you? Do you have any 'you wouldn't believe it story?'