Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2 Hours/12 Minutes Without a Computer

When my miniMac produced the message "Restart Your Computer" in about five languages, I called Rent a Nerd. Doug said the problem was serious and that he needed to take my computer to his house for a few hours to reinstall my operating system using his computer.

7:07 p.m.: He unplugged my lifeline and walked out the door.

My heart pounded as I watched him drive away. For five minutes, I couldn't focus. I paced the house, trying to reassure myself that it would all turn okay. I had used my flash drive earlier to back up everything I ever wrote—seven novels, five scripts, hundreds of magazine articles, hundreds of query letters, dozens of essays, a handful of blogs, and a zillion other little things. It took 23 minutes to preserve a lifetime of work.

I couldn't stay still. So I started to clean. I swept and mopped the floors, then looked at the clock: 7:36: What now? It was way too early to sit down and relax with a book. That doesn't happen until 10 p.m. and not always then.

I started writing this blog in my head as I dusted the living room. My fingers itched to get the words down as they came to me. But I had no computer. I went back to my husband's office to see if he wanted to take a walk. He wasn't around. But there sat his computer, monitor on and keyboard still warm. It's a PC! I thought. But I needed to write. I needed to be productive. I can do this, I thought. I wrote my first novel on a Commodore 64, my second novel on a Brother word processor, and my third novel on a primitive PC. I looked around his menu for some kind of Word software and couldn’t find any! His Gmail was open, so I clicked "Compose" and started to write. It was awkward using a standard keyboard and Big Bear chair, but I had a story to tell. So I wrote most of this blog in an e-mail and sent it to myself.

8:15 and no call. I found my husband and we went for a walk, cell phone clutched tightly in hand.

9:02 and the phone finally rings. Doug did not have good news. I needed a new machine. But he brought my wounded Mac back to me and fired it up.

9:19 and I’m back in Word, online, and in my familiar world.

Yes, I am addict. And there is no cure.


Marta Stephens said...

Earlier this spring, we had several thunder storms sweep through the area that produced state-wide damage and floods. I was without my Internet for four days. I could write ... on my PC ;)but was totally lost without e-mail. This coming from someone who remembers typing on a manual and using onion skins. LOL

Dana Fredsti said...

YOu poor thing... I am a Mac user at home too and understand the pain when the baby has to go into the doctor's...

CA Verstraete said...

Okay I admit, I'm a pc addict. But I understand the addiction just the same. Taking the computer away is like losing a limb. Isn't that terrible? Gosh what did we do before that? (Probably more work, less blogging etc. ha!)
Great post!

Dani said...

I recently lost my desktop in a thunderstorm. Fortunately, I had already ordered a new laptop and had my Alphasmart to pound on in the interim. It's not so much the internet I'm addicted to, but the keyboard. I can type faster than write, and I just think too fast for my pen to keep up. I also forget too fast at my age, so getting the words down immediately is essential. Young people always say, "if it's important, you'll remember". They are so, so wrong. LOL.