New Fantasies for this Millennium

I used to fantasize about Fabio. This was when I was young and green in judgment. This was when Fabio was young too. It was before his ” I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” years. And that would have been a good thing because the Fabio of my former fantasies needed butter, and lots of it. In my fantasies I would picture him glowing, even steaming, in the hot sun. A strong wind would blow through his golden locks and his muscles would ripple beneath some skimpy outfit as…. he turned my compost heap.

Yes, with Fabio it was all about the compost heap. It’s long been one of those jobs that the men in my life never have time to do. It’s also one of those jobs where I am irritatingly aware that I am not as strong as a man, much as I have tried to forget this for five decades. What can I say? I desired a hunk that hankered for pitchfork activities, one I could boss around without any guilt, “See that twelve foot pile of half rotted plant material over here Fabio? Move it over to there. Thanks.” I could leave him to it and in my fantasy, I would return and he would have done all the work with a smile on his face. His hair would still look good, his muscles and clothing only more ripped than before, and of course, he would want only bread and butter or “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter” in payment.

It is with such nostalgia that I remember those childish fantasies of the last millennium. In 2007 my fantasy man is named Ned.

Ned has no life. He waits by his phone night and day, happy, even impatient, to receive my calls. He is ever ready to drop everything to take care of my needs. In fact, he is so ready, he has nothing else to do but wait for me to have a need. And I deliver. I have questions. I have snafus. I have crises. I have glitches and Ned doesn’t think any of them are too idiotic for his tender mercies.

You see, Ned is my fantasy IT man. He is my own fantasy computer demi-god. His lack of muscle tone rocks my socks. I need a man that doesn’t mind spending nineteen hours a day in a desk chair unravelling our latest technology screw ups. His fashion statement of a pocket protector tucked into the pocket of a strangely shiny olive shirt tucked into polyester flood pants would charm me. Bring on a wardrobe ready for “What Not To Wear”, because I need a man without a social life. I need a man that camps out right here 24/7 to service my technology needs. I need a Ned.

What would Ned have done this week? Well, to begin with he would have sent me out to the kitchen to have Fabio fix me a nice slice of bread and “I Can’t Believe its Not Butter” when we discovered that the research list had been deleted from the computers and that the backup of this twenty page list was two months out of date. The brief version of this boringly familiar tale is that the different versions of Microsoft word were not communicating well across our network and the research list fell victim to their communication disorder. The uncensored version of this tale involves, well, I will spare you the details.

My fantasy Ned would have known it was software upgrade time before this fracas. Ned would also have known better than to waste a whole lot of time trying to load the new UPS software upgrade, an upgrade that UPS finally called us to tell us to delete from our systems. This would be because Ned would also be psychic as well as brilliant with computers. Ned would have known when the UPS upgrade arrived that it was crap. Ned also would be the one to come in early each morning and get the computers communicating smoothly. Ned would let me sleep in while he massaged them into good behavior. I would no longer need to waste precious time wondering how computers that are not being used all night can be so messed up each dawn, needing so much TLC to cooperate for another day. Their cat fights would be Ned’s domain. I could stay in my warm bed past six without a care in the world.

Ned would also leave me free to begin to repair my strained relationship with the men in my life. Ben is fully employed now. He teaches. He coaches basketball. He is a dorm parent for fifty five teenage boys. He has a places to go and people to see. In conclusion, he has a life. I know his heart must sink when he hears from his mother. I would hate to get these calls from me too. Some of my messages are worse than gum surgery without anesthesia. One day last week I ran into him in town and told him to go home and delete his answering machine messages without listening to any of them. Sadly, he had already listened to the day’s eight message docudrama. I try to call less frequently. I really do. I spend hours trying to troubleshoot on my own. I also try to call when the technology is flowing so there is an occasional chirpy cheerful message, but these moments are few.

In fact, it is almost an out of body experience when all five six seven eight computers are working. And how did this happen, us having EIGHT computers? This technology that was supposed to simplify my life is my new full time job and I already have a two three full time jobs. Way back in the Fabio fantasy years, I thought I was going to be able to buy computer or two and then use them ’til death did us part. Instead, my guy at the computer store refers to two thirds of our machines, all of which are less than five years old, as dinosaurs as in, “This is not worth repairing, it’s a dinosaur.” And then there are the software upgrades. If I had as many upgrades as my computers get, people would think Jim had a trophy wife.

Ah, this brings us to Jim. Sadly, I do not greet him at the door at the end of his workday wrapped in saran wrap like the happy homemaker. Sadly, the arctic temperatures and the fact that he has twelve year old William in tow are not really the reasons for this restraint. The main reason is that most days I am too busy organizing my litany of technology horror stories to assemble a saran wrap outfit. Let’s face it. Every technology horror story needs an audience and he is it.

Is it any wonder that he is suddenly lingering longer and longer at curriculum assessment meetings?

So Fabio, it was nice while it lasted. Those were good fantasies, those ones down at the compost heap, but it’s over. Ned is the man. And where o where art thou Ned? I need you, yesterday. Bring the upgrades. I will bring the butter.

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