A few months back, I had a horrifying experience at an Apple Genius Bar. My computer died while I was in the midst of the some important business, and try as I might, I couldn’t bring it back to life. Regarding the “important business,” it was this: Engagement rings. My boyfriend and I had been in the beginning stages of the engagement conversation; we’d started the process of looking at rings. On this particular night, we’d been looking on a website. Eventually, my boyfriend got tired and went to sleep. But I stayed up for a while. I stayed up looking at rings.
Here, it bears mention that my current screen saver shows both my father and my younger brother at my younger brother’s wedding. So, my boyfriend was asleep, and I was looking at rings against the backdrop of my newly married brother. And then my computer went kaput. Immediately, I scheduled a Genius appointment for the following morning. When I went in, the helpful young Genius had it working again in a matter of minutes. He did one thing and then another, and then my computer came back to life. And when it did, the visuals flashed in this order: SCREENSAVER OF BROTHER AT WEDDING! FIVE DIFFERENT ENGAGEMENT RING WEBSITES!
The genius smirked. “Who’re they?” he asked, pointing to my father and my brother.
“My father and my younger brother,” I answered, “at my younger brother’s wedding.”
Next, he clocked the myriad engagement ring websites and took to closing each and every one so he could get started on fixing the problem. I prayed he would ask me if I was on the verge of my own engagement, so I could explain the ring search as the byproduct of that particular circumstance … not the byproduct of me being a pathetic, wishful thinking wedding stalker.
But, of course, the Genius did not ask, and so was I condemned to feeling embarrassed. Embarrassed for being caught browsing virtual pages of diamond rings against the backdrop of my brother’s wedding. The whole thing got me thinking about the experience of the Genius: What, I thought, must they see in a day’s worth of reviving computers?
I was compelled to find out. I took to the streets – and by the “streets” I do mean the Apple Genius Bars – and conducted several casual interviews over the course of a month. During each appointment, in addition to getting my technical problems solved, I’d make sure to ask the question that had really brought me there: What is the single weirdest thing you’ve found when reviving someone’s computer? Three Geniuses answers below:
Bernard was very friendly, probably in his mid-30′s. He tried all manner of things to get my friend’s computer to release a DVD that’d been stuck in it for ages. As he did, I asked him my chosen question. Bernard thought for a moment.
“There was this one guy who would come around, and it was like, he wanted us to see his porn.”
“Go on,” I said.
“Well,” he said, “the first time it happened, it didn’t seem like much. He came in because his computer had broken down.”
“As one does,” I said.
“Exactly,” he said. “And when I got it running again, there was this hardcore porn playing. Which, you know, happens a lot at this job, so you just try and pretend like it’s not happening. So I did. But it was almost like he wanted me to see it. He starred me square in the eye and went, ‘Whoops.’ I didn’t think much of it, but then a few months later he came back, and did the same thing again. And then a month after that, he came in again and he did it again! And I was like ‘Oh. Okay, so this guy’s got a thing. He needs to be caught watching porn.’”
Jim was little bit younger than Bernard, and a little bit more serious. Not cold or rude or anything, just serious. He was helping me with what I thought was a broken charger, but was actually a filthy computer. By which I mean: The spot where the charger goes in was so, so dirty, the magnet on the charger couldn’t work. (Incidentally, realizing the issue was caused by my own slovenliness made me feel really good about the woman I’ve become, about the good care I of my belongings.) Anyway, Jim explained the simple issue to me, and I asked my question. He stared ahead for a moment.
“I see a lot of people whose pets piss on their computers, and break them. Sometimes these folks seem embarrassed about the issue and sometime they don’t, but I always think, ‘Pull it together, dill-wad. Jesus. Why not learn to train your dog to go outside.’ Also, half of them do a crap job cleaning up the piss, so it stinks. Those people really are the worst.” He paused. “And, also, probably the most embarrassing.”
Here is what you need to know about Ralph: He was Anthony Jr. from “The Sopranos,” as he appears in Season 6. I don’t mean, like, it was actually the actor Robert Iler, I only mean that Ralph looked so much like Robert Iler, age 22, I had to actively remind myself it wasn’t him.
When I asked Ralph my question, he shuddered before he launched into his tale.
“One time, I rebooted this guy’s computer, and I saw gay porn! Gay! Porn! I saw these two dude’s, and I was like, ‘What the hell, yo! I don’t need to see that shit!”
It bears mention that this particular answer was given at a Genius Bar in New York, on the border of Chelsea and the West Village. Ralph ostensibly complaining about the noted presence of any gay culture was pretty much like traveling to India, and making a stink if someone served you curry.
Long story short, I quit after that. Things appeared to have moved from amusing to depressing. For me, that’s when I know it’s time to stop. Consider my curiosity satisfied.