Women versus the machines

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Sometimes I yell at inanimate objects. Usually it’s one of the electronics – the printer, computer, television, garage door, microwave, and even the remote control. And the question I yell most often is this: “Why do you hate me?”

I try not to take it personally – the fact that electronics always seem to malfunction when I’m the one using them. But I’m beginning to see a pattern. And I’ve spoken to several female friends who’ve experienced this same type of phenomenon, which backs up my theory: Household electronics hate women.

Before you assume that the real issue is me or some lack of knowledge into what makes things work, let me assure you that’s not it. I’m as techie as the next person. I’d say I’m even more techie than average. Not only did I set up the family’s iTunes account, I also arranged parental controls on the teenagers’ smartphones. During my day job, I work on a website. I even know what the letters SEO stand for.

laser-printer-149815_640 (2)See? I’m not an electronics idiot. But the electronics around this house sure do make me look like one. The printer in my home office is the most recent offender. Yesterday I tried to print something and it just sat there like a large, square paperweight. I pushed a button on the display screen to coax it to life, but the printer responded with a high-pitched, ear-splitting noise – the kind of sounds we used to hear in the 90s when we were still on dial-up Internet service.

This noise went on for several minutes while I tried in vain to make it stop. Finally, I unplugged it just to get some peace. When Tom walked by a few minutes later, I told him something was seriously wrong with the printer. “I think it’s totally fried,” I said. “We may have to return it.”

He walked into my office, plugged it in, pressed the same power button I’d pressed just minutes earlier, and the thing sprang back to life. No crazy noises. No frozen display screen. It acted like a brand-new printer, eager and willing to serve up documents. Tom gave me one of those annoying, side-eye glances that seem to say “Broken, huh? Looks fine to me. You must have done something wrong.”

But I’m not the one who’s wrong, Tom! And neither are the other women I’ve talked to who are suffering through this sexist electronic revolt. It’s electronics misogyny, I tell you!

If you need more proof, I’ve got it. After I picked up our three kids from school last week, I pulled into the driveway and pushed the button to raise the garage door. Nothing happened. I put the car in park and pushed the button again. Still nothing. So I inched the car closer to the garage door and pushed it again. Nope. Push, push, push. No, no, no.

“Why aren’t you opening the garage door, Mom?” asked my 15-year-old son.

“Well, clearly something is wrong with the garage door,” I said, annoyed. “You see me pushing this button, right? It’s not working.”press button

“Here, let me try.” Kid pushes the button – one time – and the stupid door goes up. If that’s not clear proof of electronic sexism, I don’t know what is. It’s not like there’s a wrong way to push a button. I may not be the smartest mom on the block, but I do know how to put my finger on a button and press it.

I sometimes wonder if household electronics have been programmed to react negatively when they detect ovaries or estrogen. Then if they detect a spike in testosterone, they straighten up and work perfectly. That would explain so much. Women are far more likely to keep a man around if he’s the only one who can get the cable box to work.

Women, we must unite and fight against this electronic tyranny. In fact, I should do some investigative journalism on this injustice and publish my findings. That’s exactly what I’ll do – as soon as Tom fixes the printer.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.


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