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Get R.E.S.P.E.C.T. with the HP Palmtop

In college I used to fix my own Volkswagen Bug. I knew the engine backwards and forwards. The guys in various auto parts shops got used to seeing me in my greasy work cloths and talking shop with me.

Times change. I have my master's degree in education and still occasionally substitute teach when my duties as a full-time mom permit.

Recently I walked into the local lumber yard, kids in tow, looking for some drywall joint compound (a.k.a. "mud"). Standard drywall joint compound comes in premixed buckets and powdered form that you mix. We use it a lot in remodeling for sealing seams and texturizing walls. The premix mud smells like it may have some chemical preservatives added to prevent spoiling. (The odor of drying mud fills the house for a couple of days after its use.) I tend to be conservative when it comes to the health of my family, and prefer the powdered, "non-toxic" variety.

There I was in the only lumber yard in a small midwestern town of about 10,000. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I was a woman with two kids in tow, or the use of the word "non-toxic," when requesting joint compound, but the clerk looked bewildered and the guy in line behind me snickered.

The conversation went something like this:

Clerk: "You mean mud?"

Me: "Yes."

Clerk: "But mud's non-toxic. It's got to be; it's just plaster; I've used it all my life."

Me: "Don't you notice the smell? It lasts for days afterwards."

Clerk: "It's dry in a day, then I don't smell anything."

Me: "My husband can't smell anything either."

I took out my Palmtop because I had a note on it about the powdered drywall compound. I have a MEMO file on my HP 95LX that I use for notes. I keep it loaded all the time so that when I turn my Palmtop on, the information I need is there. I jot down quick notes and tentative appointments that I either save in that file, or transfer to my home calendar later on.

The clerk and the guy in line behind me immediately became attentive. Right below the notation about buying a jump rope for the Sunday School was the following note:

Jerry Roper (his phone number). Call about non-toxic drywall joint compound and paint. Tell him I talked to Bruce.

I showed the note to the guys. The guy behind me was impressed and said, "I think I've heard of that stuff."

The clerk said, "I'll see if I can get it in." I was surprised. What caused the shift in attitude? I guess it was the objective facts printed on the screen of a non-threatening and quite interesting piece of technology. I hadn't changed, their perception of me had.

Maybe more women should buy HP Palmtops.

Lucinda Hall

Fairfield IA, USA

iPhone Life magazine

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