Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Week Without a Computer

by Barbara D'Amato


I know not to open an attachment that comes from an unknown source. This one came in with the name of a person I knew slightly and told me they had a book display idea they wanted in to discuss. The minute I saw there was no content in the attachment, I deleted it. I then Googled the name of the “company” they said they were establishing and – what a surprise – it didn’t exist.

For a while I hoped this was not a disaster, but I backed up the book I was working on. I backed up most of my address list. I emailed the book to two people.

Long story short—first the computer slowed waaaaaaay down, and then odd ads began taking over, blanking out files I was worinkg on. Access to the stick drive was denied.

I won’t draw out the agony here. My guru arrived, said this was a very bad virus, and by the way, I had a lot of spyware, too. He tried to get rid of the virus and couldn’t. Went back to his office to research it. Called and said it was worse than he thought. He was going to send his assistant for the hard drive. Called back. Said he was going to send his assistant for the whole computer, and by the way, he hoped all the data wasn’t corrupted.

Gee, I hoped so, too.

I tried to do other work—the fun closet clean-out, the exciting find-the-crud-in-the-back of-the-refrigerator mystery. Nothing was good enough. The third time I went to the keyboard and started to type, and realized I was typing to nowhere, I remembered a cartoon from many years ago. I think it was by Gahan Wilson, but my Wilson specialist doubts it. Armageddon apparently has happened, since the background is smoking rubble. Two survivors stand in a cave, in front of a television with a cracked screen, bent rabbit ears , and of course, no electricity. One of them says, “All we can do it keep making sacrifices to it and maybe it’s magical powers will return.”

Surely I had enough emotional strength to get through a few days without the computer. But what if someone emailed me? What about my agent? What about work on the book? What about the online crosswords? What about the blog?!

I wanted Google. I wanted Wikipedia. I wanted Yahoo.

I left for Michigan to dye Easter eggs with the grandchildren. That would help for a couple of days. But in fact, I was twitchy without my monitor aglow. Is this addiction? What have we come to? Could you spend a week without your computer?

The happy ending, seven devilled eggs and three egg-salad sandwiches later -- Mr. Dell is well and coming home today. They were able to save him with no data corrupted. Life is good.

22 comments:

Picks By Pat said...

I've had to endure periods of three or four days without a computer, even a week, when I visit my father (he doesn't own one).

It's very tough, but somewhat refreshing. I get to catch up on my reading...from between the pages of a book!

Libby Hellmann said...

My laptop died last week... It must be a conspiracy. Yes... it's very disquieting to travel and not have the internet at my fingertips. I'm back to using the Business Center. Not liking it. Not at all.

Wilfred the Author said...

Last time I lost a computer, it was near the beginning of a 3 week business trip to China. I lugged a briefcase with nothing but dead weight across the northern half of China. It did force me to venture out and learn a little of the language though.

Mark Combes said...

My next computer is going to be an Apple. This virus thing has me squinting sideways at my monitor everytime I open something in fear that the dang thing will explode in my face. (I have the same aversion to airbags by the way - I drive sitting sideways in my seat.) But I wouldn't be caught dead without my laptop!

Maryann said...

I did six days in Scotland without my laptop and didn't miss it at all :o) Howver, during our current switch to broadband (first insight now comcast) I had a couple of days of no Net and hated it. I could still access Word though, so it wasn't a true withdrawal. I'm glad all is well, Barb :o)

savvymegs said...

I spent a week in Ireland without it. One night we spent the night in a place with the internet and all of a sudden, you couldn't drag me away for any amount of beautiful green and magnificent castles. I just HAD to use it for a little while. Addiction? I think yes.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Thank you all for writing. Did you find any effective temporary substitutes? Video games? Chocolate? Probably not snail mail.

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