On Friday, my computer chucked in the towel: blue screening all over the show. I called a repairman, we did a drop off (I felt like a drug lord) and he drove away with what I dramatically told him was my life’s work.
He sorted the blue screen stuff (faulty RAM stick) then the computer refused to charge. He fixed the charger then the wireless wouldn’t arc up. He worked out the wireless then the computer wouldn’t start. He sent it to computer ER.
I hope the last domino has fallen.
It’s a curious thing. When Tony, the repairman, told me it would be three or four days until I saw my laptop again, I just about blue screened myself. How the heck…? I had things to do, projects to work on. This next week was to be an intense time, a fun time…a productive time. And now, pow zam zap, all in cinders.
I checked my to do list. There were things I could do that did not require a computer, things that might have been pushed aside or snarled at if I’d had one.
That afternoon in the library, as I signed out the maximum number of items (all picture books) the contrasting colours on the cover of a book on the counter drew my attention. Oooh! A thick novel by one of my favourite authors. Goodbye ‘The Elephant and the Bad Baby”, I’ve read you once, you can wait for another day when there is less magic around.
The following morning I climbed the steep hill behind my house feeling this time like Lucie from Mrs Tiggywinkle: ‘along a steep pathway – up and up – until Little-town was right away down below – she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney’. Moisture turned the far hills blue. A nearby lake shimmered and it was warm enough to remove my mittens.
At home, I nested in the sun room. It’s often too bright in there for me to see my computer screen but a crisp white notebook… now that works. With no web pages to distract me, no photos to fiddle with (one of my planned projects) I am putting in the yards on my picture book. It is taking shape.
From my windowed room I watch the day as if it is a movie. I saw my first bumble bee of the year – a huge, fuzzy black ball carving paths in the air. A flock of large gulls wheeled in and settled in the paddock in front of me. Other birds flapped wildly or soared or dropped to capture food. A tiny figure traversed the hilltop skyline away to my right as though balancing on a razor edge. Clouds formed and dissipated.
None of these things are visible from my office. In the normal course of events I would have missed them as I sat in front of my screen.
And I have made curtains, resealed the shower recess, discovered why the vacuum cleaner isn’t functioning, learnt how to gut a fish, picked up the rubbish along my road and the main road it intersects, realised that the gap at the top of the pantry cupboard door is unfixable, watched Torville and Dean skate their final Bolero ever, read three quarters of a novel and planned two dinner party menus.
Granted, some of these things I would have done anyway, but it seems so much easier, I have so much more room, when I’m not tussling with a computer. My life opens up. For me, there is some suction exerted by a computer. There is always stuff to do on it – useful stuff, good stuff but stuff. These computerless days have liberated me from all those tabs I want to read, that bulging inbox. Oh yes, I need to be more organised (I’m working on it) and less hoardy and unrealistic about what I can get through (working on those too). Maybe if I was, being computerless wouldn’t create this sense of freedom.
Sometimes it takes just a step, sometimes a full swing of the pendulum, to experience or remind ourselves of how we can feel, to see what is possible. And then we can swing back, but only as far as we want for we have become aware again. We can rejig our lives.
So what am I going to do? I’m going to work in the sun room in the planning and first draft stages. My writing hand is a better conduit for useful thoughts than my typing hands. And I attend better when I have a notebook not a screen of clamouring tabs. I’m going to let go of ‘stuff’ on my computer so I don’t feel hemmed in by it. I’m going to make time for those activities from which the computer keeps me.
There are things which I simply cannot do without it though. I will be pleased to have it back (and that anticipation is now increasing incrementally with the delay). However, when it does return, I’m going to work my computer, rather than the other way round.
Update. It is now twelve days since my computer left (I wrote the above on day five). The computer is dead. That revelation didn’t bother me as much as the initial idea of being computerless for several days did – a quick adaptation. It is a strange land without a computer, with things unfinished, undone, dangling in the ether around me. It is at best, not altogether pleasant, at worst, concerning. In today’s world, life both opens up and closes down without one. I’m ready to rejig – but I need to cross the hurdle of setting up a new computer to do so.