Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Last Wednesday morning I tried to print out my homework assignment for metaphysics class, and the page was gray and streak-y.  It had finally come time to change the ink cartridges.  Thankfully, I had prepared for this, and I quickly popped out the old black cartridge, popped in the new one, and printed it again.  And. . . gray and streaky.  What??  Ok, well, it was late, and I had to head off to work, so I figured I would turn my paper in as is (proof that I completed it!), promising to turn in a better copy next week. (My learning would have to wait 2 more days.)

So tonight, I was determined to work on my collage (still planning on finishing it after I type this!)  First I tried printing out my paper again, hoping the cartridge just needed some time or something.  Nope. (Sometimes that works, right?)  So, I gave up and tried printing out my pictures.  THOSE didn’t work out either.  Nelson Mandela had the orange-y skin of a self-tan gone wrong and Ayaan Hirsi Ali looked like a graphically designed super hero (kinda cool, but also really fake.)  (Steve Martin came out a cool faded gray, though, and Kyle Gray — the angel guy — had a nifty psychedelic rainbow-y look, so I actually decided to keep those two images.)

Soooooo . . .I called in the big guns. (“BRIIIIAAN!”)  He took a look at the printer menu, and — being the wonderful techy guy he is — he  knew exactly what buttons to push.  He asked me about the cartridges.  He asked me why I did this and how I did that what and yadda, yadda, yadda.  He looked up HP and followed their linear line of questions.  (Try this.  If that didn’t work, try ________.  Did that work?  If that didn’t work, try ______. . .)  We got to the bottom and it was still not printing correctly.  So, I finally sucked it up and called HP. (Learning time!)

The conversation began with gathering my information and ascertaining that my warranty had expired (which Brian had already figured out, in the infinite wisdom of his), and the tech guy telling me that normally this phonecall would be incur a  fee (“Ohhhh. . . I didn’t know that. . .”)  But, he said that that would not be the case this time.  (Thank goodness!) So,  I was led step-by-step through a series of actions — half of which, Brian had already tried — until finally we got to the printer head.  (I’m not even sure if that’s exactly what it’s called).  I didn’t even know what the heck a printer head was.  (But Brian said he had heard of it. :-P)  We were instructed to unplug the printer and clean the printer head and carriage, and that’s when Brian spotted the gunkyness that was the cause of all of my woes.   After lots of cleaning of heads and carriages and wheels (It’s like I’m talking about something else!) and messy inky hands (just Brian’s; I was in charge of the phone:-)) we ran the alignment and “clean printer head” for the 3rd time that evening, and finally got solid black ink.

I was so relieved.  An hour (51 minutes, actually), and a new warranty later (it came with a free ink cartridge, and I was totally grateful to the guy), I had my printer back.  I could have given up.  I could have gotten angry and frustrated.  But I didn’t. I persevered.  We did it!  And  I actually thanked Brian because he was the one getting frustrated throughout the process —  a mirror to my own internal frustrations — and since he was all agitated, I felt I needed to be calm, which worked out well because I was the one talking on the phone.  Team work!  Also, I struggled a lot to understand the technician’s accent, at times nearly beside myself. I alternated between asking him to repeat what he had just said and taking a guess.  (“Rub?  Did you say ‘rub the printer?’ Oh, unplug.  Got it.”  But at one point I remembered lines from one of my metaphysics lessons — about being a good listener — and I tried to really image what he was telling me and project my words clearly, too.  And it worked!  His words became clearer each time I did it.  At the end of our conversation he thanked me for my kindness and patience (and then said something else that I didn’t quite catch but sounded just as pleasant!), and we wished each other  a good night.

Persistence.  Patience.  Accomplishment.  A lot of learning today! (And now back to my collage.) 🙂

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