You wouldn’t understand, it’s a Mac thing! I have become firmly convinced that this has become the standard answer from a Mac user when questioned by or dealing with a non-Mac type. Just as someone who served in Vietnam might respond, unless you’ve been there, you just wouldn’t understand. So it goes for someone who is involved with the Mac OS and the whole state of mind that goes along with it.
It gets old really quick when one constantly has to deal with people with questions that make no attempt to even begin to understand the Mac or the people who use it. Disparaging remarks, snickers or head shakes seem to be the normal reaction when someone asks what kind of computer do you use and you respond, “A Mac.” “What’s the matter, afraid of a real computer?” or even better, “Couldn’t learn how to use a computer, huh?” seem to be the par for the course normal response from a uneducated PC type. Uneducated in that they’ve never tried one or even looked at a Mac up close before.
Yes, I know how to use a computer. I wind up using PC’s at work, so I understand “Computers”. No, I’m not afraid of a “real” computer, that’s why I use a Mac. I recently had the experience of setting up a Performa 6200 at another worksite for some of my fellow workers. Budgets being what they are, they couldn’t purchase a computer, but were able to find a Mac that no one else wanted. They brought it to the worksite, set it up (wasn’t hard to do they said, even without a manual, everything was clearly marked) but they were unsure of how to turn it on. Now their boss knows that I’m into Macs (tried convincing him to get one for his family but lost out) so I got a call to see if I could come on over and help them get it going. How could I say no! I get to the scene, quickly check everything, press down on the keyboard start key and bingo, it’s up and running. Now, sitting next to me is a fellow supervisor, very knowledgable in PC’s, watching all of this go on. Smiling Mac, (good) and Welcome to the MacOS (great), I’m on a roll here. Now the extensions and control panels begin to load. “What are those?” the PC guy wants to know. I begin to explain what’s going on, PC guy looks at me and says,” Oh, OK, it lets you see it happening. So that’s how the Mac boots up, not bad.” He now starts to ask questions about what happens if there is a problem with the extensions loading up, and I begin to explain the process of what would occur, giving him a quick overview. “Not a bad system” he says.
We begin to discuss the ins and outs of the Mac as I start to navigate through the System. I go through the hard drive and begin to trash stuff I know that they will never use, moving items around and even making aliases of some of the apps that they will be using to put on the desktop, so that those totally unfamiliar with the Mac (which was everyone) would be able to get up and running with just a quick brief rundown. I even left some of the folders in the view by name format so that those newbies brought up on PC’s wouldn’t feel it too strange a change. Now, my friend the PC guru is still sitting next to me, watching me and taking everything in. He’s watching as I empty the trash and is fascinated that I can tell how much space I have left on my hard drive and exactly how much space the items I’m getting rid of took up, and that the dumping of the trash registers a new hard drive space tally when I check. He continues to watch as I continue to go through everything and show him how to use the system so that he can help the others. Just as I’m finishing up, he turns, looks at me and says: “You know what, this is just like Windows 95. They copied the Mac concept.” I looked at him and smiled, “Windows 95, just like Mac 84.” (I’d been dying to use that line!)
Now, I’ve known this guy for years, and he has never had anything nice to say about the Mac. What I discovered that day was that he had never been up close and personal with a Mac, nor had he ever taken the time to sit down with a Mac enthusiast and be shown the Mac, the way it should be shown. Amazing what a half hour of conversation and questions and answers can accomplish. Is he going to run out and buy a Mac, don’t think so. But, is he going to stop putting down Mac’s and Mac users. I know so, cause I’ve already heard from his boss who let me know that he too had made a mistake in not getting a Mac for his family. Both of them have let me know that the Mac has been moved to the main office area where everyone can get a chance to use it. (and apparently everyone wants to!)
Maybe all of us just need to take some time the next time some PC’er opens his or her mouth and makes the classic statement “What’s the matter, afraid to use a real computer?” and tell them “No, are you afraid to try and use a Mac?” Then take the time to really show them that the Mac is a computer, and that they shouldn’t be afraid of something different. Maybe then we’ll both see each other in a different light, computer users who just chose different paths to walk down. Maybe then It’s a Mac Thing will have a different meaning.