Back on 1 Dec 2004 a client emailed me this. I now have permission to post it. This kind of comment makes up in some part for all the hard stuff in a year. Of course, it doesn’t make the decision to stop providing support any easier…
And what’s the difference between support and training (which I still offer)? You can make an appointment for training in a few days or weeks time. Support needs an answer — usually now.
The email also speaks to the reality of the ‘ordinary’ computer user — the people for whom a computer is simply a tool, a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Those of us who spend more of each day using and learning our computers than not are too likely to forget the real-world difficulties of the regular user.
I’d just like to say how hugely I appreciate your prompt responses — this time, and always. Although you know about, and enjoying finding out about, computers, as a teacher you clearly understand that people like me are rather odd and find them really stressful. Although we love the services they provide and wouldn’t be without them, I for one will probably never be computer literate, and because I work on my own at home I always get palpitations even when I have to engage even in a conversation about computers (eg with telecom). I feel like a useless idiot when people of my age and older talk confidently about their machines. I don’t remember what I’m told and get too nervous to practise in case I ‘lose everything’ etc, and my head goes ‘wuzzy’ at the thought of it. I really need a lifeline and you are wonderful in that respect, seeing the problem from my point of view and providing the reassurance I need.
Really i just can’t thank you enough for being there and replying so promptly, even when I haven’t had you over here to tutor me for a long time. It means so much — the feeling I get with a computer problem is the same awful feeling I get when there’s a bad leak in roof or cylinder or part of the roof has come off and you need a plumber urgently: when plumber arrives you feel your life is saved — but you, Miraz, are a million times better because plumbers always plead they are too busy (which I know you are too) and take forever to respond!