In this week’s edition of “What’s Weingarten Writing?,” it’s Man vs. Machine. Gene ventured into the wilds of an Apple Store to fix a very serious problem he was having with his word processor. This classic setup sets the stage for a showdown between an Apple store employee and WaPo’s “humorist,” Gene Weingarten. In Gene’s weekly column, Gene lets us know that he is having a problem with his computer. What’s wrong with his device?
He writes, “When my computer finishes each save … it registers this operation by displaying the time of the save in year, date, hours and minutes, like this: ‘2013-04-16-09.17. ‘ My problem … is that on the next line it gives me a two-digit number that seems to fluctuate almost at random.” She leaned in, nodded, and I detected a faint smile. This was pleasing her; a good technician must thrill to a good challenge.” Can you imagine fielding THAT customer? Gene probably just calls his computer an “email machine.”
How does the “genius” at the Apple store respond?
As it turns out, the employee seemed somewhat embarrassed to tell Gene that the number sequence that he’s all freaked out about is just the way that the document saves to the computer. Their exchange:
“Sir, did you come here today just for this?”
“Yep,” I said. No biggie, an hour by Metro and footfall.
“Okay. So, um, that last number is the seconds.”
And there you have it. Gene gets schooled by a young Apple employee on how time works. To be honest, we give Gene a little credit here. At least he owns up to the fact that he didn’t know what the hell he was doing and sought professional help.