The exact thingummy (8,7)
"This proves it, Mom. You have lost your marbles; not that you had many to start with," said my son, rather pityingly. "Watch it, kiddo. Half of the marbles you have got are mine." I replied amiably.
He had a point though. I was talking to inanimate things, again. My microwave oven had beeped its reminder to open the door and remove the dishes, and I'd said, "Cool it, cool it. I am coming."
I talk to gadgets. I plead with them if they are acting up. Come on, come on, I say as I wait for Mike to boot up. Aw, not again, I moan when Firefox and Guardian crosswords play out their saga of strife and my browser crashes. Come on baby, you can do it, I encourage my toaster to burn slices of bread to my son's peculiar specifications of toast.
I talk to food as I cook it. Hold it, hold it, I say to the mustard and cumin seeds as I go to fetch curry leaves to add to the seasoning. Burn baby, burn, I say as I roast corn or aubergines.
Of all the things that go wrong or throw tantrums, my BSNL broadband connection is the worst. I don't know why it fails. I can't call and find out since nobody answers the one eight hundred number. I can't even find out my usage details, because I can't log on to Data One, and the complaint I registered on the first day of this year hasn't been attended to, not to date.
I can and do perform white magic, though. Talking to gadgets helps. Mike obediently opens a Word document it's been claiming it can't open when I threaten it with bodily harm. Put out willya, always works with my printer, though it groans and grinds its way through the document I am trying to print. My cell-phone needs strong language to function. All my gadgets need mantras.
As gadgets go, the router we have for our broadband connection is the thing in need of the most hocus pocus. When I can't get online, no matter how fervently I wish to, the thing to do is to switch off, pretend I am an isolated single computer for a while and turn the switches back on again.
And then my router caught on to this pretense. Now I have to not only turn the switches off, but also unplug them - the router and its attendant big black thingummy. After a few minutes of being divorced from the plug points, it seems like my router kisses and makes up with the broadband connection and everything is fine again, until the next hiccup.
What are most gadgets called anyway? They are these generic doodad, thingamabob, thingamajig, whatchamacallit and so on descriptions, which are difficult and esoteric.
Of course, I know egg whisks and ice-cream scoops. I know nail files and cuticle trimmers. I even know a Philips head screwdriver from the regular one, though I never dated either.
It is easier to call a sphygmomanometer the blood pressure thingie. Theodolite might be a specific instrument, but I call it the surveyor's thingie. Seismographs and tachometers are something we don't have to be familiar with in daily life, thank goodness.
I know what that big black thingie I unplug and plug back into the socket to make my broadband connection come back to life is. I can't for the life of me remember what it is called, though.