True Short Stories from India (A search for the purpose of Life)

By PF Sloan

Story 10: Doesnít Compute

Four state-of-the-art laptop computers were delivered to my front door apartment in Venice, one afternoon in 1995. There were two odd things about this occurrence. One was I didnít order any computers and the other was I didnít order any computers! My name was on the invoice and so was the service number, so I gave the company a call!
ĎHi" I said, "I just got 4 computers delivered to my door andÖ..". I was interrupted by the voice on the other end of the phone. " Yes, Mr. Sloan, and weíre so sorry that itís taken so long. The two computers you ordered were stolen en route to your apartment, so we had to replace them with two others", he said. "Oh, thatís alright", I said. "How much did they cost?" I asked. "Well" he said, "Along with the 5-year warranty, theyíre about $2,400 a piece!" "Okay" I said. "And who placed the order for these, and how were they paid for?" I asked. He gave me the name of a person I had never heard of and said they were fully paid for. I felt it my duty to ask at least a dozen times if they had the right Mr. Sloan, and the right address. But each time I tried to tell them there was some mistake, the guy on the phone would say there had been no mistake; "Weíre just sorry your two computers took so long to arrive". I hung up the phone like a thief.

I kept them in their boxes for weeks, expecting the call from the company asking for them back, but when a month went by, I opened a box up and took a look at a neat 286 Windows running Windows 3.1 with a B & W screen and floppy drive! I hadnít had any computer experience before, but it seemed to come naturally. User-friendly, really!

Now this writer friend of mine, unbeknownst to me, had been writing stories and scripts for years on a really antique computer. It had crashed and burned long ago. The information locked frozen. There was only way to get the info out; he said he needed the same model computer as his, but a higher upgrade, which mine was! So voilà, he got the first computer as a gift!

Meanwhile in India, a woman friend of mine by the name of Diane was talking with Sai Baba. "When am I going to get a computer so I can do an overseas letter to people, Baba?" she asked. "Soon," Baba said. "One of those old Indian computers?" she asked". "Oh no" Baba said, "State-of-the-art American!"

It was time for me to go over to India again and spend time with my teacher and I took with me one of the computers to write down my experiences with.
Upon arriving at the Ashram in Brindavan, Baba was already giving Darshan. I stood outside the grounds and saw Him sitting in a chair on a stage. At that moment I heard this name pop into my mind in a huge echo. It said "Diane".
I thought, "Diane. Whoís that? The name of a woman Iím going to meet, or what?"
After Darshan, the first person I run into is my friend Diane from Los Angeles.
She sees the computer Iím carrying and says, "Is that for me?" I stopped dead in my tracks, and thought inside my head, "Is this computer for Diane?" "Why yes" I said, "How did you know?" So there went the second computer.

If youíre thinking this is too fantastic to believe, and it never happened, that Iím making this whole story up... just let me tell you now, itís true, okay! Get over it!

I didnít like computers really. I mean they were out in 1990, and even earlier, but I didnít feel attracted to them, actually I wanted nothing to do with them, donít ask me why. I donít know!
The third computer went to a storyteller in Los Angeles named Michael. He didnít know I had a computer, he just told me he needed one to keep track of all the stories he was collecting about Afro-American folk tales. He entertains children all over the world now with his stories and has been written up in many newspapers.
I kept the 4th for a while until it broke on me.
Iím writing this story on a 586 Pentium with Windows 98, awaiting the new Windows 2000, unless I get a Mac! God Bless!