So you’re happily work in a Mac application and it suddenly quits, and you get the notice that “Safari quit unexpectedly.” It’s a brilliant observation, capturing as it does the thing which just happened. The intelligence, the verve of it! And just below is a blank text box asking you to type something into it. Sometimes you do try to report what you were doing, or trying to do, or thought you were trying to do but maybe now that you think about it that wasn’t the way to do it. And you’ve done this often enough that you have a kind of history here. Wait a minute. There is history here, but it’s been all you. You have never gotten a response back. Who’s to say anyone ever reads these things? Maybe you’re like the mouse trained to click the bar for cheese who keeps clicking the bar for cheese even after the researchers have gone home. Maybe they’ve locked up the lab for the weekend. For the holidays. Maybe the university has shut the place down and no one is ever coming back, no cheese is ever coming your way again, but you’re still clicking the damn bar.
And so you write a note that attempts to find the human in an inhuman environment, and in writing it confront ugly epistemological and metaphysical realities:
> Never try to undo editing you’ve done in a text box in a web page in Safari!
> Safari does not like it, and when Safari does not like something, it quits.
> And when Safari quits, you will be asked to report it as a problem.
> And when you report it as a problem, you will type things into a text box and be forced to answer life’s greatest mystery:
> OK or Reopen?
> You will click one of the two, the text box will go away, and you will wonder what happened to those words you typed.
> Did they disappear into the maw of a giant trouble-ticket system?
> Or are they more like the close and open door buttons on elevators?
> Put there to placate the impatient.
> Alas, you will never know the truth.
> Can never know the truth.
For the record, the machine’s own report looked like this:
Process: Safari 
Version: 6.0.1 (8536.26.14)
Build Info: WebBrowser-7536026014000000~2
Code Type: X86-64 (Native)
Parent Process: launchd 
User ID: 501
Date/Time: 2012-11-09 15:03:49.432 -0600
OS Version: Mac OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)
Report Version: 10
Interval Since Last Report: 603431 sec
Crashes Since Last Report: 2
Per-App Interval Since Last Report: 520875 sec
Per-App Crashes Since Last Report: 1
Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread