I think I might just be a little bit in love with another man.
Mr B is still, of course, The Love Of my Life – but
the other day I met Nikko. Well, I didn’t exactly meet him in person but we established what you might call a virtual connection. Let me explain.
my Norton anti-virus subscription ran out. For a few days beforehand, I kept getting “You Are In Serious Danger” messages on my laptop, designed to strike fear into my shrinking heart. Mr B said, not to worry, he would take my laptop down to the
PC Parts shop where the Very Nice Man would install and activate another year’s protection from nasty viruses which might otherwise despoil my perfect relationship with the world wide web.
I like the PC Parts shop, mostly because it is also the Balloon Shop. Yes, it’s a strange marriage of opposites but, like Mr B and I, it works well enough. We visit the Balloon Shop every time a grandchild has a
birthday; I spend ages choosing just the right balloon for the child in question while Mr B debates the relative merits and de-merits of PCs versus Apple Mackintosh (or “Mac Almighty” as Mr B would have it) with the owner of the shop. The party
section is really the province of the owner’s wife and it’s always better if she is around to inflate the chosen balloon and prettify it with curly ribbons. Her husband does a workmanlike job, it is true, but is not so good at the prettifying (if
there is such a word. If not, I have just invented it.)
Anyway, with a day to go before The End of the World As We Know It – i.e. a day before my Norton
Anti-Virus Protection ran out – Mr B headed off to the PC Parts / Balloon Shop only to return, ten minutes later, with the news that the shop was shut, pending a move to a vacant premises round the corner. I asked all the obvious questions, like would
they still be selling balloons, but Mr B just shrugged and said time would tell (or something similarly unhelpful.)
The next day I was in town with the Youngest
of the Darling Daughters and her Twosome so, while she and Hazel Bagel were trailing endlessly around H&M in search of jumpers that didn’t have strange, gaping necklines, Jack and I trotted off to W.H. Smith where we purchased Norton Anti-Virus Protection
software for half the normal price, according to the advertising banners at the entrance to the shop. I was so pleased with myself, dear reader, till I arrived home and announced my success to Mr B – only to be told that he never paid more than that
to the Very Nice Man at PC Parts which included a fiver for the installation of the software which I would have to do for myself.
Which is how I came
to meet Nikko. I managed to install the program OK but I couldn’t activate it. I followed the instructions to the letter but without success. After half an hour of increasing frustration I decided to resort to the offer of technical support from
something called Symantec and typed in a slightly despairing message.
“Hi, Jaqui, this is Nikko,” the message came back, almost immediately, “How
can I help you?”
Bless him. So polite. So obliging. “Hi Nikko,” I typed. “Hi Jaqui,” he tapped back. We exchanged greetings like
this for a little while longer while I was deciding how to put into words what was my problem. He was patience personified.
We chatted on like old friends as he
tried to identify what was amiss. In no time at all, he had activated my program and won my heart. I told him I would be putting him on my Christmas card list. “That would be great for me, Jaqui,” he replied, politely. He had the strangest
turn of phrase. Strange but quaint, if you know what I mean, like he came from a different age altogether.
Now, here’s the thing. I would really like
your opinion - is Nikko real or is he just a computer program designed to solve clients’ problems on-line?
Have I fallen in love with a robot?