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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Little Black Box
By PamFord Davis


The dreary autumn day is in perfect harmony with my gloomy frame of mind. I sit helplessly pouting in front of a little black box. My ability to communicate with the outside world lies silently inside an unattractive square piece of electronic equipment. Hypnotizing lights flicker as blinking round green eyes. Could it be flashing emergency SOS signals to bring me help? My made in China modem is a green eyed monster in need of repair! I am in a day time dilemma, an innocent damsel in distress. Will there be a happy ending, and a return to cyber space? Where is my hero?

Many modern day women claim independence and declare their strength to conquer any problems that come their way. I confess I am not mechanically minded, a computer whiz, or “Mrs. Fix It.” If I can simply flip a switch, push a button, or insert a key, all is well in my kingdom. If things fail to power up, I am at the mercy of the machinery or gadgets.

I have sadly shut my computer off and resort to pen and paper. A writer will find a way to keep writing, even if forced to use crayons or chalk! My frustrated fingers unplugged and unscrewed every connection and reversed that routine. A thunderstorm earlier today may have melted my modem!

How can such a small harmless looking black box hold power over my life? It links me to the World Wide Web at super speed. It is also our needed connection for home telephone service. The Internet and phone line are both “dead as a door nail!” Outsiders are clueless to my catastrophe!

Using my prepaid cellular phone I called the cable company Internet provider, hoping the problem would be at their end of the line. A comforting, knowledgeable “computerized” voice began leading me through a do it yourself repair course. I felt no confidence as the lifeless voice directed my inexperienced hands. In defeat I ended my call. The recorded responses could never comprehend my repeated statements. “I will have to try again later.”

I realized my pre-paid minutes were running low; and I did not want to waste them. I anxiously called my husband, working out of town. I quickly explained my problem. He efficiently asked all of the common trouble-shooting questions. I disappointedly shared how I had checked and re-checked all the connections.In the role of my “computer doctor,” he used gentle “bedside manner.”

“Unplug everything for a while; see if that helps. If the modem is still not working in the morning, take it to the cable company. It’s their equipment. If they want us to continue paying for the service, they’ll have to give us another modem.”

Men are so logical! I’m now feeling more in control of the situation. I’m bigger than that black box; and I will not let it ruin the rest of my day! I’ll just take an imaginary mini vacation! If I were really away from home the computer would not be working; and neither would I! Good things are supposed to come in small packages… Maybe I’m learning a lesson on patience from a little black box!

“Doctors are involved in a medical practice, because they practice on us! That is not very comforting; but sometimes they do make the right diagnosis. My computer doctor husband made the right guess this time! I plugged things back in after a few hours as instructed. Flashing green eyes were brilliantly synchronized! I may go shopping tomorrow and buy a pretty red ribbon to wrap around my little black box!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Christine Ramey10/23/09

Men are very logical! That was a point very well taken! I imagine from the first paragraph or two you must be talking about an alarm clock! I hope I was right. Good beginning! Interesting for sure!
Laury Hubrich 10/23/09
I always unplug everything, let it sit awhile then boot it back up again. Almost always works:) Technology can indeed be very frustrating.
Marie Fink10/24/09
We all take our turns in love hate relationships with our "little black boxes." You hit a nerve, probably with most women who do love technology, but just want everything to work and hope that problems go away on their own. Praise God for tech savvy husbands.
Eric Ringle10/26/09
I enjoyed your descriptions of your feelings. There were several attempts to reach a solution, all with failure and the frustration that followed. However your story was about persistence, seeking help, and triumph. Just as our walk is with the Lord! Thanks
Mark Bell10/26/09
"Men are so logical! "

--HEY! I resemble that...sometimes...(lol)

nicely told. we need good reminders of how dependent we are on technology. it amazes me how many people are clueless on how to do things without all our modern gadgets. you revealed that well.
Jan Ackerson 10/27/09
I've definitely shared your frustration! Well-written.