Computer World

I heard a story on the national news yesterday. Apparently there is a critical shortage of the microchips that go in our cars and, frankly, make them run. As the owner of a brand new car, I can tell you that my 2021 Honda CR-V is run by a computer. My car’s computer tells me when to change lanes. It shuts off the engine when I’m at a traffic light. It runs my radio or connects my phone to the sound system so that I can play my own music. Somehow it knows that I like my country music playlist the best.

But according to the news report, the shortage of these chips (thanks to COVID) is resulting in a shortage of available cars. That’s, in fact, what my BFF/car salesman Sean told me when I bought my car and wanted it to be red. Microchip shortage, he told me. Might be that we no-can-do red. As it happens, we did do red.

The other day I walked into my kitchen to find water dripping onto our beautiful wood floors from the refrigerator. Yikes. Not a ton of water, thankfully, but water all the same. I did not get my associates degree in HVAC/refrigerator repair last week, but I concluded the water was coming from our ice maker. I shut it off, and then shut off the water because my stepson happened to be at our house and he made that suggestion. The water dripping from the fridge might have given him a clue. He too doesn’t have an HVAC/refrigerator repair degree.

Here’s what I know: Whatever is causing the problem with my refrigerator will be related to a computer. The repairman won’t be an old man chewing on a cigar with a chest full of tools. Instead, his tools will consist of a diagnostic instrument of some kind and the result will be a very expensive fix because it will be a computer problem. I’m not being cynical, just practical.

A while back, our very old washing machine at our AZ home went on the blink. We called in a repairman, and he could fix it for $300. While a new machine wouldn’t have been a whole lot more than that, we elected to get Old Faithful fixed, because she’s old, but faithful, and there isn’t a computer chip to be found anywhere near her.

As I always say, computers have undoubtedly made our lives better. Still, I can’t help but remember the olden days when people could change their own oil in their car, or install a new headlight. Bill’s parents still had the original refrigerator they bought when first married well into the 1990s.

As I write this blog post, it remains to be seen whether it will be an easy fix or if it would make more sense to buy a new refrigerator.

I will let the computer decide.

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