Today is Sunday, August 19, 2018

Computer Seminar, anyone?

By J. Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa

MAYBE I was totally unprepared or was just unmindful that when the seminar for computer training for justices and clerks of court was announced early this year, my reaction was one of sudden spasm of uneasiness and consternation as the due date drew nearer.

The point is that I really have no delusion for things electronic whatsoever—not cellphones or computers or anything associated with them. In fact, when people start talking about e-mail, surfing, on-line shopping, you tube, e-bay, upload, download and all that, I am totally out of the conversation line or the loop, as them “techies” would say.

Not only am I not fascinated by all those computer stuff, I actually hate them—well, almost.

But above all, my apprehensions over the forthcoming seminar were precipitated by the total absence of any prospect that I could escape it. That was the real problem and a lot of other Justices, I found out later, shared my misgivings, although they warned me not to name them!

Well, as the dreaded first day came after a night filled with acute stress disorder I trudged unwillingly to De La Salle University and found myself the earliest with Justice Myrna who came along with a barong-clad aide lugging her laptop. Wow, I thought to myself, she must be a computer wizard! Unable to moderate my curiosity, I asked about her comprehension with computers but she mumbled incoherently and could not make out if she was conversant with the thing or maybe just as ignorant as I was. But she did impress me by her seeming seriousness.

Soon, the seminarians began to fill the room—some displaying eagerness, others hesitant, while still others simply present but unceremoniously unconcerned.

The lecturers, by their language, mannerisms and attire appeared professional and knowledgeable, and probably presumed that we too, somehow, had some nodding acquaintance with the computer.

And why not? After all, we are expected to know it. Expected, yes. So what are we here for?

To start, we were asked to type: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Here also? I asked myself, recalling the time when I started toying with the typewriter in my teens. Then there was another one, now from the Invictus: “Dark as the night that covers me. Black as the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul”.

As the days dragged laboriously on, and me thanking the gods for my unconquerable soul for holding on, we began to hear terms repeatedly mentioned that made us nervous such as: configuration, default, etc.., prompting one Justice to suggest that there should be definition of terms at the outset for clearer understanding. Then, uh-oh, PJ asked me what the lecturer meant by “default” I boldly ventured that perhaps it is the failure of the letters to appear when you touch the keyboard (!) “Eh, di ex-parte presentation na ang susunod!”, he exclaimed.

When asked to create our e-mail addresses, Justice Ed Sundiam stubbornly refused initially until Justice Mids reminded him that it was part of the day’s lesson. Grudgingly he followed the instructions, removing his eyeglasses, his face almost touching the keyboard, twisting and turning the insolent mouse!

I was unaware that the likes of veteran MCLE lecturers Justices Joe Sabio and Noel Tijam who, I understand use powerpoint in their lectures were uninitiated computer users, too. And so was lecturer Justice Luke who appeared confident during the lecture forum but who at times would just stand up wondering what the heck we were doing.

And then there was Justice Joey Reyes who, every time he entered the room would call attention to himself and say: “All rise!” as in the t.v. ad. There was also Justice Marifleur shopping on-line for bags, Louis Vuitton, perhaps? Or hollywood gossip? All this while Justice Bambit went around the worldwide web with his mouse.

When told to send an e-mail to each other to test our initial proficiency, I heard Justice Estella loudly complementing Justice Mon Bato for successfully sending her a one-liner, but then voiced her dismay when the one-liner turned out to be: “The quick brown fox…”.

Still, Justice Rory, in a short skirt gracefully showing off her logs, I mean, legs, as Justice Joe S. playfully called them, had an excuse from all the tasks, she kept complaining about her eyes!

Justices Baby S., Kim Abdulwahid, and Rose Vicente quietly followed the instructions, with Rose’ enigmatic smile confirming that they indeed belonged to the “head of the class” and were not “iskul bukol”.

Well, in my case, I boasted to Justices Jun Villarama and Ding Villon that I sent my husband a romantic e-mail. They looked at me incredulously and inquired, “natanggap naman kaya?” When I got home I was agog, anticipating that my e-mail reached him and would receive praise for the fact that I was able to send my first e-mail. But there was no kudos. When I asked him about the e-mail, he asked in return, “what e-mail?” Suffice to say, he looked confused.

Oh the hours passed by so sluggishly, probably the longest four days of my life, and Justice Ed seconded, saying: “para tayong nagbabantay sa may sakit na walang ka-relyebo!” My sentiments, exactly.

Seriously, four days surely are not enough for a techno-phobe like me to learn to use the computer, and maybe, even a year would also not suffice. Still, I did learn something which I am contemplating on being my “signature” to close my letters, memos. After those four fearsome days, it all boils down to this, :)

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