I have written that being without a car in Los Angles is akin to an “existential crisis.” Well, now I have learned that going without one’s computer in contemporary American society is also such a “crisis.”
In a moment of delightful synchronicity, my computer crashed immediately after I had printed – and backed up – my final two papers for the Master’s part of my program in Mythological Studies. That is, it remained functional as long as I absolutely needed it in order to complete the work I had to get done.
As I was about to set out for a party, I realized I had printed out the directions to get there, but not the address of the celebration, so I attempted to turn my computer back on. It kept giving me a message that I needed to turn the computer on. I thought the problem was a temporary glitch, so tried to turn it on when I got up to the hotel in Carpinteria (where I stay during class sessions), but no luck.
I would not learn that my hard-drive had crashed until I took my laptop into the Apple Store on Thursday. I had to take it to another computer store to get it fixed – and where I could also rent a computer (the one from which I write this post).
It has been weird not having regular access to a computer. I didn’t realize (until I went without) how frequently I would check my e-mail – and the Internet. Not only that, I began to realize how much stuff I had stored on my laptop. While I had backed a lot of it up, I hadn’t backed up much in the past few weeks. And anyway, without a computer, I couldn’t read the disks where I had backed things up.
I didn’t have access to friends’ phone numbers, addresses, dates and times of upcoming events. Not only that I had saved notes, ideas for blog posts, ideas for screenplays, notes on movies – and, most importantly, notes for my Fantasy Epic on my hard drive. I realized that it was worth my while to pay to try to get them to restore my hard-drive. Now I need to learn how to better back things up. And to do so on a regular basis.
The one thing that struck me about the whole experience was how fortunate I was. It seemed that someone was looking out for me. As I noted above, my computer only crashed after I had printed out my papers. I had observed some strange things going on with my computer as I was finishing them up, things which seem to be related to the ultimate failure of the hard drive. And yet the computer held up long enough for me to complete the work I needed to finish. It seemed a good sign.
In her comment to my post on completing these papers, Sarah Rolph wrote “sorry to hear about your computer! At least it didn’t die before you printed your papers… perhaps the gods are telling you to take a celebratory break!” Maybe she’s right, maybe I needed to celebrate.
All I will say it is uncanny and makes me feel a little better about my place in the universe.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com