Machines Part 3 – ‘Turning off’

I turned it off. At least I intended to. I do not suppose I wanted it to be off forever but in that moment of pure clarity and with total conviction I just needed to turn off.

What does that mean. What does it mean to you? What does it mean at all?

The Farlex dictionary of Idioms claims to ‘turn off’ has a few meanings…

To turn off…

‘To disable, disconnect, or stop the function of something.’

e.g. ‘I forgot to turn off my laptop, and now the battery is dead.’

e.g. ‘Please turn the water off when you are done brushing your teeth.’

I suppose this is the main understanding people have of turning something off and it certainly was the basis of part 2. Just to shut down all the open browser windows, the old files, the unfinished work. To disconnect from the internet and the constant stream of drama often because of other machines. It was to stop my faulty machine that was surviving, not functioning.

To turn off…

‘To steer a vehicle or walk off a particular path or route.’

e.g. ‘You are going to turn off at the next exit.’

eg. ‘We turned off the main path and started hiking around the edge of the lake.’

This, in all reality, is the turn off that moving forward I would like to think I meant. Whether that is true I can honestly not tell you. But if I consider the machine to be a train for a moment, then this dysfunctional and dangerous weapon had malfunctioned to the point that it was perilously close to causing carnage, picking up pace with every extra metre of the track it left behind. The train was not stopping at stations; it was not having consideration for its passengers, other, of course, than the ever-present desire not to hurt or affect people with its own afflictions. This train was a runaway, and the brakes did not work. The problem with a runaway train is that it cannot simply turn off, it cannot take the next exit. It cannot turn off the main path without the intervention of others. At some point it needs to be stopped or derailed. Well, it cannot be stopped if no one knows its hurtling towards a major crisis. So, I suppose turning off in this context meant me derailing my own train and dealing with the aftermath later. Surely that is the best for everyone? Is that the way to cause the least damage possible?

Wikipedia – Derailment. In emergency situations, deliberate derailment with derails or catch points is sometimes used to prevent a more serious accident.

What a decision. Clearly, I needed a Jon Claude Van Damme (Derailment 2002, terrible but engrossing film).

To turn off…

‘To cause someone to dislike, become averse to, or lose interest in something.

e.g. ‘I thought the subject would be interesting, but the professor’s boring lectures really turned me off.’

e.g. ‘I know that the accident really turned Janet off to driving on the highway.’

Using this analogy, I can simply see I was turning off to the good things in my life and under appreciating the true gifts that I was given (or had nurtured if you want to be gentler). I also see that my experiences and actions meant others were turned off to me as well.

Whatever it means, the reality was I was off and there was no automatic reload this time. It is what I wanted in that moment and I was okay with it. However, you know those people that when they leave the house must turn the switches off at the wall, or even, when they go away, unplug them entirely so as not to cause a fire… Well, I am not one of those people. I don’t switch off. I don’t unplug. Electricity continues to flow. Believe it or not, Karie Lapham Fay claims that in this state, machines can become ‘energy vampires’ and even though you turn something off, some amount of electricity may continue to flow to the appliance – sometimes just as much as when it is turned on.

According to the California Energy Commission. Often called ‘energy vampires’, these appliances consume ‘phantom loads’.

Well, consuming stuff is something I am particularly expert at. It’s partly why, that in my poor state, I put on nearly 5 stone and become adept at taking on board many of those things that are considered to be bad for us. I have also been obsessed with vampires ever since I watched leather clad heroes such as Buffy and Blade tearing things up all those years ago. This obsession is not helped by visual constructions that included the likes of Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Twilight (Awesome).

So as an energy vampire, still consuming the energy around me, my machine instinctively sent one last message for help. It arrived. In droves…

To be continued… (Part 4 coming soon)

Tom Hughes

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