My computer, who I mistakenly believed was my friend, thought it would be funny the other night to hide all my documents, just so that it could watch my face when I came down in the morning and discovered them gone. When it realised that I was not going to see the funny side of this merry jape it took umbrage and flatly refused to tell me where they were. In the end I had no option but to take it to see a man who is better than me at disciplining recalcitrant machinery and he agreed to spend a couple of days persuading it to reveal where it had hidden my life’s work and to teach it the error of its ways. I handed it over and returned home alone.
Once my fury at its thoughtless behaviour had abated I found myself missing my friend with an almost physical pain. It is, after all, my closest companion. I probably spend more time with it than I do with my wife, (which is food for thought in itself). As I sat, twiddling my thumbs and thinking of all the work I should be doing, all the messages I should be reading and sending, all the interesting things that I must be missing, my eye fell on the iPad which I was given for Christmas a year ago and on which I do most of my book reading. Because of my long-standing relationship with my desktop, I had never got round to using the iPad for other things, (despite having seen the amazing work that David Hockney has been doing on his). I picked it up and began to play around.
When my computer came back a couple of days later, having finally given in to interrogation and returned the missing documents, it immediately sensed that something had happened while it was away. I think it could tell that I had a new friend now, someone who was more fun because they didn’t insist on us always being alone together in one room. My new friend is happy to come out and Google with me on the sofa while I watch television or to sit beside me at meal times and hang out with the children’s iPhones while my desktop sulks in the office. I hope it has learned its lesson. No one is indispensable.