I know a bit about computers. Well, a little bit. I’m fairly competent online at downloading stuff, and I can run some diagnostics and registry cleansers and things that will clean up your hard drive and speed up your laptop. I can even open the back up and replace a keyboard or other components when it comes to it. I don’t know a lot, but I know enough that I’ve helped others online and in my local pub – which led to a brief but interesting conversation this week in the local.
A chap I know by face, and who I was once introduced to (although I forget the name), looked excited to see me when I approached the bar. I don’t really know him at all, but he has always seemed pleasant enough. He’s a bit of a cockney geezer, if you know what I mean; the kind of bloke who always seems to have something on the go, some plan. Anyway, we exchanged an ‘Alright?’, before he leaned in towards me conspiratorially. “Just the man I wanted to see . . “ he said quietly, “ . . you know a bit about computing, don’tcha?” I told him that sure, I know a little. I expected him to be having some performance related problems with his laptop or something, or that he was maybe seeking some advice on what product to buy. No, that wasn’t it at all.
He looked around the bar before leaning in again, “I want to send someone a virus.” he quietly announced. Not what I was expecting to hear, I can tell you. I politely let him know that that wasn’t my area of expertise at all, and that I honestly didn’t know where you’d start with that kind of project. I suggested he might like to Google it. Clearly disappointed, he nodded and went back about his business.
It was a fascinating little exchange, and certainly not the kind of conversation you have every day. I was left deeply intrigued. What business was he involved in that would leave him wanting to dump a virus on somebody or some other business? What had someone done to him that would rile him so? And what level of conflict, in his world, was this exactly? Was he responding to an attack against him, or was his plan the opening salvo in something that would quickly escalate. I wanted to know it all . . . and yet I wanted to know nothing. I wanted to be as far away from all of that as possible.
I’ve known some shady and dangerous characters in my time. You know, people you’re glad to find yourself on the right side of. People who blatantly don’t operate within the law. The truth is I’ve always been happier to see them leave my life. I know there’s a whole different world out there, beneath the thin veil of law-abiding society, and I’m very happy to encounter it so rarely . . . to know so very little about it.