Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Another Catastrophe

So while I wait for Telekom to turn the DSL back on, due to happen today, but as of 2 pm not happening (and their free number for DSL service questions doesn't work today, which is encouraging), I've just had another horrifying catastrophe.

Yesterday I turned on the big computer in my living room, and after it did its thing and I didn't play with it because the DSL was still off, it went to sleep, making some odd noises as it did so. When I tried to reawaken it about an hour later, I got a gray screen. Further investigation turned up the fact that the machine couldn't find the hard disc. This may not be the end of everything on the computer (backup? what's backup?), but the fact is that I don't have the money to have it diagnosed, let alone fixed.

At the very least, it's going to be several weeks before I can do this, so right now what I would like is for any of you who read this and regularly correspond with me to please just drop me a pro-forma e-mail ("Hi, Ed," or whatever) to whatever address you're using (unless it's Compuserve: that went away ages ago) so I can re-build the old address book. I have plenty of addresses, but I think it'd be better to be safe.

I should be more shocked and depressed than I am, but it occurred to me, thinking about this as I looked at the poor old G4 tower sitting in the bright box it had been delivered in about six years ago, that I was never a computer user before I moved here, for various good reasons (although I probably would have changed in due time) but that the discovery of e-mail changed my life: I might have been thousands of miles away from my friends and business contacts, but suddenly Compuserve put them all in my lap. So, after moving here in August '93, a friend sold me his old PowerBook 160 (hey, trackballs! Remember them?) and the SXSW crew brought it over here when they visited MIDEM in January of '94. Been hooked ever since.

And, although a great deal of my older writing is backed up (I found a January '04 backup without really looking yesterday, and there may be a newer one somewhere), all the e-mail, photos, games, all the passwords for various websites and functions (like the links to Powells and Barnes and Nobel I post here), basically all my life since 1994 is contained in that silent, comatose block of plastic waiting until I can afford to take it to the doctor.

In other words, it's like some sort of period was placed at the end of a sentence. If there were ever a metaphorical event dealing with the necessity for me to get the hell out of here, boy, this is it.

Still lack the money and so on, and yeah, I'm going to have to get this at least diagnosed, and fixed if at all possible, but this metaphor may well be the reason I'm not rigid with grief and depression about this. It's like the cosmos went and reinforced something I already knew.

Of course, if someone waved a magic wand over it tomorrow and made it work again, that'd be a lot more satisfactory. But that's not gonna happen. If there's one thing this past decade has taught me, it's that there are no magic wands, very few miracles, and that luck is as likely to be bad as any other way. The solution is keeping on keeping on.

So, if Telekom ever gets the damn DSL back on, that's what me and the tiny laptop are going to do.

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