Laptop rage


Some people think of me as very calm.  Others, who know me a little better, think I’m always tense or worried about something (or some things, or possibly everything), but I doubt many of the people I know would see me as angry.  As a rule, I don’t do angry.  I get cross with myself.  A lot.  Or I get frustrated about world events or uncooperative inanimate objects.  But I just don’t get angry.  Very few people have ever seen me shout for any reason other than audibility or theatre.  A few unfortunate souls have experienced the moment when I grow icily cold, and my voice becomes even quieter than usual as I simmer.  Recently, though, I experienced laptop rage.

In the shiny new(ish) learning centre, we have a laptop loan scheme.  This involves cabinets housing a couple of hundred mini laptops which can be used in the building by anyone who needs them, vastly increasing the computing capacity of the space.  The laptops are  cute little things, which sometimes start to smell a bit when too many students have carried them around under their arms.  They are a much valued resource, but they can be irritating from time to time.  There is a tendency to leave them in strange places around the building.  On shelves, under chairs, out on the terrace (in the rain) and so on.  This is irritating because each laptop can only run for a few hours before needing to be plugged back in to a cabinet to recharge.

You can imagine, then, my joy when I found a laptop abandoned on a desk at the end of a day and took it to a cabinet, to find that said cabinet was almost full.  People had been returning them to their little house rather than leaving them to fend for themselves.  Wonderful!  Except…  I noticed several dangling cables.  Pulling out one laptop after another, I discovered that they and the cables that recharge them were only united in terms of proximity, not in terms of carrying out any useful function.  In the whole cabinet, containing a couple of dozen laptops, only one had actually been plugged in to recharge.  For some reason, this really irked me, beyond my usual levels of irritability.  Technically, this showed more thoughtfulness than the usual trick of abandoning the laptops as soon as they were finished with, but it seemed to show less sense.  Did they assume that the whole cabinet functioned as a powermat?  If so, what on earth did they think all the dangling cables were for?  By the time I had plugged each cute little laptop in to a power cable, sitting cross-legged on the floor like a 21st-century gnome, I would have been quite happy to strangle the next student that came along, preferably using one of the remaining charging cables.  Thankfully, as it was the end of the day, there were no students sufficiently near by to carry out this desire.

In theory, a failure to plug something in to charge is no great crime, but on this day I must have been tired, or caffeine-deprived, or otherwise unable to cope with the daily ups and downs of library life.  Whatever the reason, I now know that some of our student body do not understand the concept of charging (one can only assume they replace their phones every time the battery runs out) and that this is one of the few things in life that makes me genuinely angry.  The Singing Librarian suffers from laptop rage.  Who’d have thought it?

    • Trish
    • November 1st, 2010

    It’s possible that the students are not just being lazy or thoughtless. They might be scared of plugging them in! I know that sounds silly but I am a bit like this. I am always a bit worried I might plug something into the wrong hole and blow up the appliance or electrocute myself or something 🙂

  1. Increasingly politely worded notices are the only response to this. When you start to use green pen and more than five exclamation marks though, it’s time to seek help.

  2. Thing is, Trish, they plug the cable back in to the same hole that they had to take it out of to use the laptop… Though technophobia may play a part – I wonder how it could be soothed.

    And Sol, we are not allowed to put notices up, as it spoils the design/aesthetics of the building. We had to fight to be allowed to put up the legally-required copyright notices by the photocopiers, so no green pens for us!

  3. It might make you feel better to know that today I saw a student standing by one of the laptop cabinets diligently plugging in several laptops that had previously been abandoned on top of the cabinet.

  1. November 12th, 2010
  2. December 1st, 2010

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