An exercise in creative writing, you could say. Last week, as I was leaving office, I dropped by the computer shop downstairs to buy a router that would supposedly fix all my connection woes. (It didn't, eventually.) Most of the shops were closing, but the poor bespectacled man in this shop was still clearing up stuff. He wasn't exactly drop-dead handsome, and rather unpleasant to speak to. In fact, I often made fun of him by impersonating this Ugly Computer Guy in front of my colleagues.
But hey, let's just say...
There once was a man who owned a computer shop.
Every single day of his life was filled with printers, modems, routers, hard disks, USBs and whacamalits.
And everyone who knew him, only did so because he was good at the techy stuff they didn't care for.
The hardware and software were the only ones who loved him in return.
But all that changed the moment he fell in love.
Love is never something you can predict or control. That's why it's called falling in love.
It happened one quiet morning as he was arranging the DVD-RWs in order of capacity.
"Excuse me, do you have thumb drives here?"
His heart paused. When you hear the voice, you just know. He whirled around to gaze into the most perfect face he'd ever seen.
A sparkling set of eyes met his demurely. Rosebud lips that spoke a thousand words with just a smile. Flowing black hair that one could run fingers through endlessly. All standing before him.
"Hello there?" Her dimples made her ever more adorable.
"I, uh- yeah. Thumb drives. What sort?"
"Hmm...I dunno. What kinds do they come in?"
"Well, you have you 1 gig, 2 gigs, 4 gigs, even 8 gigs now."
"I see," Her forehead creased. "What's a gig?"
He almost burst out laughing. Fortunately, the cumulative forces of the universe prevented him from doing so at that very moment in time.
"Do you know what a byte is?"
"See, a byte is a unit of information stored in a computer. So all the data you have - that's all bytes. Ten thousand bytes would make up a megabyte, or MB in short. A thousand more of those, and you have a gigabyte, or GB, or gig as we call it."
She nodded very, very slowly.
"What sort of files would you want to store in the thumb drive?"
"I'm starting my own fashion boutique," she enthused. "And I need to get some photographs of the clothes taken, to upload on the web. But then the file size is too large, and I need to get it in this format, that format, this resolution, that resolution. Argh... it's so confusing!"
"So I reckon you want to transfer the picture files with a thumb drive?"
"Then take this." He slid open the glass case, withdrawing a 8-gig thumb drive. "You'll need this for the hi-res pictures."
She eyed it curiously. "How much?"
"I can loan it to you first. Copy your files and bring them here to me tomorrow. I'll help you upload them."
"Oh thank you so much! You're wonderful."
So are you, he whispered in his heart.
"No problem. Just doing all I can to help."
"Tell you what," she smiled at him. "I'll treat you to lunch tomorrow. As a gesture of thanks."
This can't be happening to me. He felt giddy as a malfunctioning computer fan.
"Wow. You're not kidding."
"Sure I'm not! I really appreciate what you're doing for me."
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The printer cables and CD-ROMs and external casings and speakers and optical mice grinned in unison at him. All those years he spent with them had ultimately culminated in this beautiful, wonderful moment. No more lonely nights. No more self-pity. He could finally become normal again.
Now he would have to change. He couldn't possibly keep talking about games and tech stuff. He had to read up on the latest movies and music and fashion trends. And speaking of fashion, it was high time too he overhauled his wardrobe. Perhaps a Clay Aiken cool geek-esque look would serve him well. Or how about that effiminate Korean rage? He knew a great many girls who dug that. But of course, none of those girls knew him.
First date. First movie. First coffee. First Valentine's. First kiss. How would these feel like? Would his inexperience show? She probably would have had several boyfriends before. What would she be like? Would she laugh at him? Would she find him boring? Serious? Intelligent? Girls liked intelligent guys, didn't they? But it had to be intelligent in an INTERESTING way, no? He was pretty interesting in some ways. He knew a lot of stuff that his friends didn't.
"I can take you to my boyfriend's cafe. It's not too far from here."
My boyfriend's cafe.
"What say you?"
"I'm not free tomorrow."
She looked disappointed.
"And the thumb drive costs 60."