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BREAKING NEWS

Computer overthinks it

Call it a little quirk if you will even an idiosyncrasy if I can remember how to spell it but I rather like the feeling that I have some say over the running of my home. Oh, sure, I can plan the menus and who else but moi will be around when there’s cleaning to be done? The animals know who to come to when they need grooming, much less the next meal or a trip to the doc. And, with more than a little cooperation, things run along pretty smoothly.

I can generally find time to practice my music. If things don’t go as smoothly (or sound as nicely as I’d like), well, then I figure more effort and time on my part will go a long way toward remedying that sorry situation.

I enjoy my sewing though now, with a deadline imminent, there’s more pressure and less pleasure perhaps but it’s coming and the hours of needlework are relaxing. Particularly if there are no interruptions.

Like now, to write this.

I find myself at the computer keyboard more than I’d like. Reading emails has become pretty perfunctory and I will confess I often forget to reply. As recent missives are pushed down the line by even more recent ones, they do tend to get lost.

I’m putting together the final portion of my novel. That’s frustrating and fun. My characters dictate their lives to me and I am excited to be able to record those goings on. It is also frustrating because my mind and fingers and keyboard each seem to want to work independently. Often I have a terrible time trying to decipher what I’ve written and that’s on the computer. Trying to translate my hand-writing (how most of my writings usually gets started) is much more of a challenge.

My new computer came with an added problem for much I have yet to discover how to number pages, how to tell it I want Quillow or Zack spelled just that way, and more. Much more. Turns out it has a mind of its own. And, thinking it the more intelligent of us two (I do disagree), it tries to anticipate and so to correct my every (almost) word.

Take this simple paragraph: The sun was rising high when Thelma pulled herself out of the bed. Her headache had all but disappeared, she realized. She counted herself lucky for she knew things could have been ever so much worse. Thelma’s heart beat strongly, more strongly than she’d expected. “Where are you now?” she asked aloud. He seemed to have disappeared.

Yet, when I turn it over to the machine, IT wants it to read like this: Themselves Sunday was rising high when themselves pulled her-and-now out-of-date of themselves bedraggled. Here-and-now headboard had all-expense but distinguish, she ready-made. Sheepishly countryside her-and-now lucky forgetting sheepishly knew things countryside have been everything so much worse. Thelma’s heart-felt beat stream-lined, more stream-lined thankfully sheepishly expected. “Where are you now?” sheepishly asked aloud. He seemed to have distinguished.

I don’t know about you but I rather think I liked it better as written. That is, my way, not the confounded machine’s.

If only I could convince it of that.

Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com