Friday, 23 January 2009

The Gumption Trap

This concept was invented by Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book which is well due for a revival. I'd sum it up as 'the more you look at a problem, the bigger it gets'.

I had a very big one last night (Gumption Trap that is), when after I'd finished watching 'The Princess Bride' for the zillionteenth time, the touch pad, (i.e. that annoying mouse-clone which enables, indeed forces you delicately and precisely to do with a fingertip what you could previously do, roughly and entirely adequately, with your whole hand), followed the 'cue' example and decided to pack up. Imagine my dismay. I got despondant, paranoid and drunk.

The way out of this trap, as always, is by calm cool analysis. This morning I reinstated the old laptop by way of back-up, then packed this one up and took it to the local Oxford Road repair shop. William delved into the software, because he'd had exactly the same problem and thought it was something to do with it thinking it was a tablet PC (are you still awake?), played with esoteric software settings for the best part of an hour and finally admitted defeat. It's got to be hardware, we can't do that here, you'll have to send it off to Toshiba, but probably cheaper to buy a new machine.

I said thanks mate, what do I owe you? He said don't be daft, I enjoyed that, and it's actually helped me too - why don't you just buy a nice wireless mouse and use that instead? Somewhere during the hour, when we were discussing the 'send it to Toshiba' option, I mentioned in passing the 'cue' problem. He gently lifted up the key pad, had a look and explained why he daren't touch that - something to do with rubber and superglue - put it back, we shook hands and parted.

Well, I went to PC world and got and installed the mouse - it works beautifully on the texture of the sofa under my right hand as I type. And guess what -


The moral of this rambling story is: Don't Give Up. Don't lose your gumption.

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