Friday, March 15, 2013

Without A Computer

My laptop wouldn't boot up Monday morning. This is no small problem.

This is the fourth major crash and burn of my computer in three years. (It's a Toshiba, by the way, and based on my experience, no, I would not recommend that brand). After spending several minutes in line at my local Best Buy/Geek Squad, the lone representative kindly informed me that after nearly $200 and at least three days, we'd be able to talk about what was wrong with my computer. And now I've just learned that the source of the trouble is another hard drive failure, which requires more money.

Yes, there's a workaround for me. A fragile, working-at-a-fraction-of-full-capacity workaround. I'm sharing my husband's laptop with him. He works from home. I work from home. Sharing a laptop is akin to...

Honestly, I can't think of a good enough comparison and my time with this computer is ticking away so I better not dwell on it. Just be assured that it hasn't been pleasant for either of us (although my husband has been understanding and he's currently rebuilding my computer - again).

Being without a computer is slowly driving me crazy. I feel helpless, on indefinite hold with my work and student life. I'm walking around with a feeling similar to what happens before I take a big test or give a public speech. It's a fluttery, anxious feeling complete with an elevated heart rate. I need a stress intervention, but I know that a good stretch, guided imagery, or a massage will not postpone work deadlines for me.

All of my hopes of having a productive week have been dashed. There's no way to get ahead with school work, no way to bring in income, and no way to balance my checkbook. I can't respond at length to any email (its hard to type a long message on a smart phone), and I'm struggling to keep up with my calendar and appointments.

I'm trying to see the good in this. In spite of me not being at all productive with my work, studies, or personal checkbook updates, there are several advantages to my forced separation from my laptop. Here are just a few:

* I finished cleaning my kids' bathroom. I started last weekend and must have gotten distracted; I found the unused rags and cleaning supplies still on the counter. It's a good thing that I looked in there. Apparently I need to do some basic training on how (and why) NOT to smear toothpaste on the toilet, or to allow the whole toilet paper roll to get wet.

* I've had time to reflect, and certainly that's something that not just anyone has time to do. Self-reflection has helped me acknowledge that I'm a not-so-good housekeeper (unlike my mother) and that I'm a heavy computer user. Should I feel guilty about either? Well, I've had time to reflect on that, too, and realize that it's all in how I rationalize my actions.

* I discovered that I need to get with the "cloud" program. I'm well behind the times, still relying on a hard drive to run my programs and save some of my data (thankfully, work files are in Dropbox). I've strategized about how to change my work habits. It looks like Adobe Photoshop is available as part of their Creative Cloud system, which might work out very well for me. In the future, I'm going to work all from the cloud so that the headaches will be less the next time a computer crash happens. I'll still have to share a computer, but I might be more prepared.

Why is it that a little piece of machinery has so much power over me? Because this is the way I live. I communicate, work, and study via my laptop. And in spite of my blog posts related to putting separation between ourselves and our devices, I recognize it's a very complicated thing to do. I don't think that it's ironic that I blog about taking pauses away from technology while at the same time being at a complete loss when my computer crashes. My thoughts are a way of questioning the complicated relationship that we have with our devices and asking ourselves how attached can we afford to get?

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