September 24, 2008 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

Blackout – Lauren Kennedy

For the third time in four months my computer would not let me log in.  Cajoling my computer was not on my to do list for Sunday.

However, I needed access to a large portion of my life that is in its memory. So I began backing up files and programs in preparation for performing the recovery process that would take it back to factory settings. And possibly wipe out a large portion of my memories in the process.

I am not technically inclined and always loose some information, programs, and registration numbers in this lengthy process. Then I must frantically search my paper files for the information that I reorganized so I could easily find it when I needed it.  But I can’t remember what organizational logic or strategy I decided upon for filing the multiplying mounds of information, emails,  courses, opportunities, strategies and ideas.

The computer is busily copying and moving files. At least it appears to be. Then zap, the electric goes out. Just for a brief moment, but for long enough that I must restart the entire process.

Once again the computer appears to be cooperating. I’m on a roll. Except I still have no clue where I filed the information that I know I will inevitably require. And then it happens again. Out goes the electric for a minute or two.

Again I start the process from the beginning. And again – blackout. After the fourth time, I decided to wait until the electric stopped getting lost in route to my home.

About this time I noticed the wind slapping tree branches against my window. I went outside to see if the sky was considering whipping up a tornado. But the sky was just over cast to the south and sunny to the north. The wind, however,  was becoming a bit vicious.

Okay, the electric has remain on consistently for ten minutes. Time to try again. The monitor came on. The printers can on. The scanner can on. The phones were still on. But my computer tower would not come to life.

This was a disaster. I had been patiently contending with its growing number of issues; crashing,  reinstalling the factory settings, error messages,  missing files and lost emails. I have tried to  demonstrate  patience and restraint.

But now it won’t work at all!

I informed my husband that I had to get a new computer now. I mean, how could I run an internet business without the internet or a computer?

Then the electric went out and stayed out. It never occurred to me that the problem wouldn’t be remedied by later that day. It always had been

.And I needed a computer. Now. I had work to do. So I jumped in the van and braved the 40 mph winds to go to get a computer.

As I drove past a open field, a gust of wind nearly sent the van sliding sideways into oncoming traffic . But I would not be deterred. The first store was dark. I surmised that the electric was having trouble in a rather larger area than I had anticipated.

But the doors were open. And I found a computer that was perfect. They didn’t have it in stock.

Not in stock!

I made the rounds to other stores in the vicinity but they had all closed until the lights returned.  What whimps! Although I could see the logic in their decision, I still felt frustrated. Oh well.

I returned to the first store dejectedly,  hoping I that there might be another perfect computer that I had overlooked. But none materialized; too big, too small, not enough memory or much money.

I plopped down in one of their comfortable display chairs, trying to come up with a solution to my dilemma. Finally, they offered me the display computer. And I jumped at it!  But I was anticipating the incredulous look and the long critique my husband would thoughtfully convey about the folly of purchasing the display for full price. But hey, I got a 4 year warranty for 150 dollars.

The best laid plans -albeit  minus objectivity,  was superseded by circumstances beyond my control. I could not even use the computer for several days. The blackout was huge.

It did however, provide some interesting insights. The first was the realization of just how dependent our lives have become on our electrical devices. And the extent to which being connected  to the rest of the world and privy to worldwide information, provides a sense of comfort and security.  I felt very isolated with no TV, radio, or internet.

I taped the refrigerator shut so the kids couldn’t keep opening it and let out the cold air.  I realized that I couldn’t even use the phone. We have cable phones (they don’t work without electric) and my mobile phone happened to be out of minutes and the stores were closed. If I wanted to speak to anyone, I had to physically go there. As a result of the internet,  many of my relationships are spread worldwide. Physically going to speak to those individuals  presented a dilemma.

The biggest effect was on the neighborhood. Usually very quiet, people were outside up and down the street and around the block.They were sitting on the porch talking and laughing with family and friends. They were gathered on lawns, interacting and laughing with neighbors that they has barely seen much less spoken to for months.They were in the yard playing games with their kids and giggling right along with them.

Where did they all come from? They cam from the TV, computer, video games.

After a few days of candles, isolation, and relaxation,  finally the electric returned. Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. My old computer came back to life. Curious.

But I really did need a new one.  I was finally able to get my files backed up. Most of them anyway. I am still looking for some paperwork. Why didn’t I just file it under important, easy to find, or critical information?

And once again the neighborhood is quiet and empty. I wonder if they are laughing as much now.


Entry filed under: Piority, Motive and Intention. Tags: , .

What Is Creative? Freedom!

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