I’m Back

Well, this brief respite from blogging and e-mailability has taught me one thing–I am nothing if not overtly obsessive and compulsive about this damned contraption’s keyboard on which nimble, but increasingly more arthritic fingers pump out various forms of hoot and literary mayhem.

In September, Hurricane Ike, the monster storm that gave Houston it’s first real blow job since Hurricane Alicia back in 1983, completely molested my satellite dish. I only received one channel and that was Lifetime.


Imagine,  ALL Markie Post, Melissa Gilbert and Cheryl Ladd all the time!!!   Sweet Baby Jesus, viewing ANY of those two-hour Technicolor horror  sessions was torturous!!

Like spending a long weekend at the Borgia’s.

Like being forced to listen endlessly to so-called “comedian”, Joy Behar’s pathetic attempt at irony.

Like being Blagojevich’s back-up comb.

In other words, viewing these movies to ANY degree made  my eyes vomit.

So yes, I had my fill of those insidious chick flicks all about empowered women who kill, maim, arrest, break the hearts of and ridicule the men who have killed, maimed, arrested, broke the hearts of and ridiculed them.

And yes, I do mean women who kill the men that killed them.   You see, it is with much regret that I learned early this fall (thanks to Ike), when it comes to Lifetime’s cinematic efforts, plots almost always (especially around Halloween)  include strong willed women who are hell bent on seeking revenge and survival any means necessary AND strong willed ghosts of murdered women who are hell bent on revenge and…well…just hell bent.

And the titles of this monstrosities?   OY!   How about:

  • Dangerous Storm
  • Stormy Love
  • Risky Love
  • Love Risks
  • Risks and Consequences
  • Consequences of Love
  • Risky Love and Its Consequences

and last but not least:

  • (insert young woman’s  first name and initial of surname here) : Portrait of a Teenage (insert malady here)

Long story short:  I survived almost two weeks without TV, but went crazy without my computer.    I am attached at the hip with this brainchild of Hewlett-Packard and when it started acting up thanks to viruses (and we’re talking more more Trojans than at six Walgreen’s) I knew I would have to go without my PC for several miserable, grueling and boring days.dr-smith

Oh, the pain…..the pain!!!!

I called a couple of Computer Hospitals here in Houston but everyone I called included a pompous sounding geek on the other end.   I hate arrogance; misplaced or otherwise.

So, I inadvertently happened upon info about a little tech shop on Houston’s NW side.  I called and a man answered.  He was decidedly NOT a native English speaker.

I made an appointment to drop off my emphysemic computer the next morning.

I got to the little shop in a very generic looking strip center located in  neighborhood which had  gang insignia spray painted everywhere you looked.   And not gangs like “West Side Story’s”  mildly angst ridden Jets and Sharks, mind you.   We’re talking MS 13 and devious hoodlums that only John Gotti could appreciate.  Realizing that made it far easier to understand why A) the windows were blacked out  B) there enough bars on the windows to make Attica jealous.

The only sign of humanity was on the building’s rather bleak facade.  It was ‘adorned’ with of duplicate posters of  one Asian couple made deliriously happy by their use of  a certain computer screen and based on HER expression, it must have vibrated.

I also saw Korean writing.   How did I know it was Korean?  Because as a kid, I often took apart those tacky little paper umbrellas that were served to me in the Shirley Temples I had when I dined with my parents at the Club.   If you peel back the layers of that little round spool thing that supports the umbrella and its tiny teaky supports, you find old strips of a Korean newspaper.

OK, so that told me which ethnic group to which  the proprietors belonged.

I tried the front door.  It was locked.   I guess no one had arrived.  The parking lot was empty, but something told me to wait a while.   Good thing I did because minutes later, I witnessed a rather unusual sight when a large, taupe colored, double cab pick-up truck drove into the lot and parked right beside me.

Pick-ups?   In Texas, you ask?   What’s the big deal?   Well, you’re right: pick-ups are a proverbial dime a dozen here in Houston but rarely are they driven by a long, tall, thin Asian men named “Peter”  (I think) who wear huge glasses that would rival the late uber Hollywood agent, Swifty Lazar’sswifty famed I MAX screen sized spectacles.

And please add to this  imagery if you will, the fact that this particular Asian man also donned  a light gray Stetson which he wore low on his forehead.

He topped off the ensemble with brown Hush Puppies.

It was indeed, a sight to behold.

I looked at him; he looked at me and he motioned at me to enter his cyber domain. The inside was as bleak as the outside.   It was very no frills;  cut close to the bone establishment with stacks of computers with attached work orders all over the place.

He ( I think) asked me if I needed help.    I  told him that I’d called the day before and spoke to someone about my computer which was “all ett up with viruses and whut not”.

I think he said he remembered and then pulled out a work order.   He pointed to the place on the order which required my name, address, phone number and level of  willingness to marry for Green Card purposes.

I then tried to explain all the problems  I could considering I speak no Korean and have little to no computer aptitude.   I pleaded my PC’s case and asked if he could fix the damn thing.

He shook his head in the affirmative.

I left my computer in his hands;  drove home and sublimated  my computer-less and for the moment, completely lackluster life, by baking.    Several hours and six-thousand, 326 carbs later, “Peter” (I think)  called me and told me (I think) that my computer was ready.

I woke up the next morning, primped just enough not to scare small children and crazed, paranoid conspiracy theorists and drove back to The Computer Hospital.

“Peter?”, I asked

He responded with some mono-syllabic grunt.

“I’m here to pick-up my computer.   Kendrick?   Laurie?  It’s the Hewlett Packard I brought in yesterday?”

He then answered me, “Ah yes, computuh fah Raleigh!”.

I wasn’t sure why a North Carolinian city was important at the time but I responded with,  “Well yes…uh….Charlotte?”

He stared at me.

“Uh, OK….then..I guess maybe…uh, Chappel Hill?”

He shook his head in confusion and then gestured to me that I should follow him back to an even bleaker room which I determined,  based on the cluttered desk,  was his atelier.

Then “Peter” (I think) launched into this excited explanation of all that was wrong with my computer.   I went slack jawed,  squinty-eyed and hound dog head trying to understand his English.

He said something about my vitals….or a St. Vitus Dance or his profound love of Vitalis.   I wasn’t sure, but since we were discussing my computer, I decided to consider his broken English charming AND that his monologue was about my PC’s virus.

He charged me 25 bucks an hour.  I paid him $110 total—the ten bucks, I suppose was either a service fee or a pro-rated amount.  It didn’t matter, I had my computer again and I was happy.   I thanked him and he said something about me being a ‘whale cone’  and then this wonderful Korean mensch even put the thing in my car’s  back seat for me.

When he leaned over, I saw that those huge glasses with lenses big and thick enough to kill ants at a glance, must have  (at one time) been very uncomfortable because he attached Q-Tips cottony swab ends on to the ear pieces of his glasses.  Guess they helped provide a cushion.   In a strange way, I understood his logic and reasoning behind this effort.

We shook hands, smiled.  He went back in and I closed the driver’s side door.   I liked “Peter”.   A nice man–fair and reasonable and kind.  He even downloaded a full compliment of MS Word and Office stuff and offered me a Coke while the processing took place.  Decent guy and God love him for his courage in trying to make a go of it, not only in the U.S.—but in Texas!!  His choice of hat and truck seemed like he was trying to fit in.    I wanted to discuss his choice of footwear, but really didn’t feel like getting into a debate about ‘hash poppies”.

Even with a language barrier, I admired “Peter”.   Assimilation can’t be easy, especially since it seemed fairly obvious that he hadn’t been here all that long.  Different cultures take a hell of a lot of adaptation and courage.

Patience, too.

I drove off thinking about the reasons why he emigrated to Houston.  What were his motivations?   Was it nuclear hysteria?   Red-baiting?  Forced integration of school kids from Korea’s Northern and Southern extremities?  His anger over the unfair treatment of his native Korea on “M*A*S*H” reruns?    The devaluation of the Won?    Or did he just grow tired of the basic everyday insanity and problems that exist in the lives of those who call the 38th Parallel home?  Did he want a capitalistic based future and simply couldn’t see it ever unfolding in Korea?

He is to be admired.

This is precisely the reason why,  as I typed the last vestiges of this post wanting to be perverse and flippant,  I thought briefly about inserting a rather dated, but still fairly decent Adlai Stevenson/Korea joke right here, but nah.   A man like “Peter” deserves better.

So, that is what I shall give him.



  1. Welcome back to cyberworld, Laurie. What would we do without our cellphones and computers. Hey, your experience yesterday with the cowboy Asian fellow warmed my little ole’ heart. You know the old saying, “when in Houston, do as any well versed, Texan-dressed kind of guy does-sorry but you would have to leave the confounds of the city to find some cow poo poo dried on his hushpuppies(?) Were those pointy toed riding style or just ropers????That guy could be on to something. Think about it-a seude, soft boot with riding heels, perfect for those lazy, hazy days in the city, riding around in an Eddie Bauer Ford 150 pickup. These folks need to come to Karnes County to see some real cow folks!

  2. Sorry for the delay. I’m getting treatment for my “check back again and again” compulsion (with uneven results obviously).

    Nice to have you back.

  3. Yes, welcome back. Your story, as usual, was most impressive.

    You’re lucky to have found the help you did for such a reasonable rate. And a RAM upgrade too. You done good Raleigh!!

    The tech chain stores seem to charge $100 just to entertain the thought of possibly trying to help once they get their lard asses up off their swivelly chairs. Then there’s the surcharge for losing your data, and the hourly rate is usually $75.

    Next time, before packing up the beast for the hospital, try downloading and installing this little freeware program called Malwarebytes. It’s what we use at work to remove all sorts of gunk from student computers.

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