My computer program, like many others, offers me the chance to use an “Office Assistant,” an icon of my choosing to click on when I have questions. There is an animated paper clip, an altogether too obsequious dog, a cat, a wizard, Mother Nature (a picture of the world that periodically morphs into a blooming flower or an erupting volcano, complete with chiming Buddhist temple bells or great whooshing sounds), a dopey looking little robot, and a glowing symbol of Microsoft’s power or some damned thing.
Sometimes I get impatient with the cartoon eyes looking at me expectantly while I fight with my computer, and I sometimes get annoyed at the more anthropomorphic Office Assistants; I never swear at Mother Nature, for example. I usually have the wizard working for me, and when it’s been inactive for too long, it starts to look at its wand, wondering if it has any power left, I suppose. OK, I know I’m not helping with the anthropomorphizing stuff any; in fact, I have had to struggle to not call the icon a “he.”
When I click on the wizard, a little speech balloon appears over its head, with the words “What would you like to do?” written inside. I’ve been known to type some wicked, ugly things in the space provided. If I were a gambling woman, I would put money down that I’m not alone.
Recently, I answered that question in a way I haven’t answered it before.
Now, I don’t subscribe to the “Men are from Mars” theories; although many men and many women do have trouble communicating, I see that as being cultural in nature, not due to innate sex differences. I would have asked the same question of a sorceress icon as I did of the sorcerer, but my computer’s response just about says it all.
Feeling more than a little ticked off at the work I was trying to do, feeling more than a tad saddened by the last few years’ woeful attempts to date, I answered the icon’s question “What would you like to do?” with “Find a man who makes sense.”
This was the only option that the computer proposed: It said it could “[t]ranslate or look up text in the dictionary of another language.”
Shit. Even my computer is in on the “Babel of the Sexes” conspiracy.