Rage Against the Machine

I tried to print something yesterday and it wouldn't print. I made sure the printer was plugged in and connected to the computer and tried again. It wouldn't print. I turned the printer off and on. Didn't work. I restarted the computer. Nothing. Then I got frustrated and took my anger out on the printer by hitting it hard-- that's right, I became aggressive with my printer. And it worked.

I usually find it amusing that people hit TV's, VCR's, printers, copy machines, etc. because in reality, while it is an act of frustration, there's a little part of you that thinks you're teaching the machine a small lesson-- well-- you're not working, you're fucking me over, and now you're going to regret it. But in this case, it seems that the printer was actually taught a lesson by being struck. Is it possible? There's really no other explanation-- if there had been a real problem with the printer, it clearly wouldn't have been fixed by being physically abused, so it must be that the printer, in this case, simply needed to be disciplined.

A few weeks back, I was in Italy with my girlfriend (yes, I have a girlfriend. No, she's not just an imaginary girlfriend this time. Yes, I'm petrified to write about her in this forum. No, I don't like being grilled like this inside this parenthesis. Please let me go. Please let me leave this parenthesis). It was the end of a great week, and we were in Lake Como for our last night. We had to catch a 6:30am flight out of Milan-- about a 3-hour drive from where we were (brilliant trip-planning on my part), and since it was pouring rain, around midnight we decided to start the drive to Milan. We got to the airport around 4am, and it was then that I remembered that I had to fill the gas tank, or the rental place would charge me 100 Euros to fill it. After picking up a crazy, crooked-toothed hitchhiker (Nikki was thrilled with me for this decision) and dropping her off in the city, I went searching for a gas station to fill up.

Every gas station around was closed, but most had an automated paying machine, so you could fill up 24 hours a day. I found a station, and pulled up next to the pump, and put my card in the automated machine. Some Italian instruction came up, and I tried my best to decipher it and pressed buttons accordingly. And then another instruction came up, and I took another guess, and then another, and another, and then it spit my card out. I tried again. And again. Each time, I tried something different, but I couldn't crack the code. So I got in the car, and decided I'd wait for someone else to pull in who spoke Italian and could help me. I waited for about 45 minutes and no one came.

Finally I said fuck it and decided to put cash in. I only had a 50 Euro bill, nothing smaller. So even though I probably only needed 30 Euro worth of gas, I figured it was my only option, and put in the 50 (about equivalent to $70). I saw the machine register that I had 50 Euro worth of credit, and I pulled the nozzle out. As I pulled it out I realized it was the diesel nozzle, and put it back, and reached for the normal nozzle.

But a funny thing happened when I put the diesel nozzle back. The machine reset, and showed my credit at 0. I took the regular nozzle out. 0 credit. I put it back. 0 credit. I pressed the buttons on the machine. 0 credit. I pressed more buttons on the machine. 0 credit.

And as I looked around and saw absolutely no one in sight, it hit me that not only did I just throw 50 Euro down the drain, I would also be returning an empty gas tank and would be charged 100 Euro by the rental company. The equivalent of over $200-- all because the machine ate my bill when I replaced the diesel nozzle. And naturally, rain was pouring on my head.

Now, you're asking yourself-- why did he just tell this long, drawn-out story during a post about hitting his printer?

Because I beat the living B'jesus out of that automated machine.

As the reality of the situation hit me, I began to hit the buttons harder and harder, and then began striking blows to the whole keyboard and the screen. Then to the sides and top of the machine. Then the kicking started. And not just normal front-kicking-- I was turning to the side and doing full high-kicks on this fucker. And I was cursing like a sailor. I think Nikki-- who had been sleeping soundly the whole time-- finally woke up the third time I screamed "FUCKING HELL!"

"What's wrong??"

I most certainly did not want to talk about it. I guess it's like they say-- sometimes you get the bear, sometimes you get in fistfights with a stationary metal machine in the rain at 5am.

There is, however, a bright side-- this picture of me with the hitchhiker:



7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had always understood that hitting an object was considered emergency repair procedure number one. A full on assault as you described with the gas pump, isn't that called maintenance? Maybe therapy?

Anonymous said...

That hitchhiker is terrifying.

Anonymous said...

the hitchhiker is hot!!! i'd pick her up too.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to be your girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

You're breaking a lot of hearts!!

Anonymous said...

I thought that picture was of your new girlfriend. I had skipped ahead, saw that, and thought....Man, you can do better!!

After I got through the heebie jeebies, I returned to the proper space in your post, read it in full and was relieved to find it was the hitcher.

That machine had it coming.

Erika said...

Check your e-mail and say hi to grandma and grandpa for me!