Friday, August 27, 2010
tap or die
The news recently reported on an Atlanta woman who got out of a terrible situation by typing a “help” message on her computer with her toes. A young man with a gun broke into her house around midnight.
The victim, Amy Windom, wasn’t going to be taken advantage of easily and put up a fight. In the struggle, the robber whacked her in the head with the gun.
She began to cooperate. He led her around the house, she identified what and where her valuables were. He then tied her to her bed by her wrists. He stayed another 40 minutes or so, coming back to her bedroom occasionally, asking for pin numbers and other information about her possessions. He then left with her car.
It must have been a terrifying incident, but the woman kept her wits about her. When it came time to take her laptop, she told the thief it was a company laptop and could be traced. He left it at the foot of her mattress.
She remained tied to her bed for hours, occasionally shouting for help. The shoelaces binding her were cutting into her wrists. She flipped her legs over her head to shut off the bedside radio. She wanted to hear if anyone was passing by and possibly get their attention.
She knew the computer was there, but thought the robber would have cut the phone lines, so she would have no internet service. She unlocked the laptop by hitting the control, alt and delete keys all at once, with her toes and was surprised and pleased to see she had wireless internet.
She operated the mouse pad and clicked on the mouse buttons with the big toe of her right foot. With her left foot she typed with the stiff end of the laptop’s power cord held between two toes, instant messaging her boyfriend to call 911, shortly after five in the morning.
Their communication went something like this;
Amy WINDOM: U THERE
BOYFRIEND: Yea? Your’e up?
BOYFRIEND: I was going to ping you before but- Sure
WINDOM: HELP RE3AD EMAIL
BOYFRIEND: What email?
A few more keystrokes and scant seconds later, Windom’s boyfriend John, dialed the police.
If it happened to me, my case would have ended differently. I’ve stretched my foot out to grasp an errant slipper between my big and second toe and gotten a foot cramp so bad I couldn’t stand up for an hour. Pressing control, alt and delete all at the same time with my toes is probably out of the question; with my fingers I can just manage to pick out and hit those three keys all at once.
I use a cordless mouse but, it isn’t tied directly to my computer with a wire so sometimes it wanders away all by itself. Operating the curser with a mouse pad or anything other than a hand held mouse usually brings out my latent feelings of discontent towards micro engineered electronic equipment. This forces me to express myself with language unbecoming a gentleman.
I digress. My point is, if I got that far, and sent an “IM” to Emmy, her response would have been very different from that of Amy Windom’s boyfriend.
ME: ‘HELPCALL 911’
Emmy: “What? You write everything with your ‘caps lock’ on now?”, “Are we animals?”
ME: RE3AD EMAIL
EMMY: “What email? We’re instant messaging; did you take one of your happy pills? Have you gotten enough sleep? You do know ‘read’ doesn’t have a ‘3’ in it, right?”
ME: Call the police.
I don’t think she would have taken me seriously at this point; she may have come back with something about being busy and not having time to fool around.
Either way, the cramp from typing would be causing excruciating pain; I would have to remain tied up for at least another hour.