Friday, June 14, 2013

Tech Wreck

Yesterday, I had the kind of day that makes you want to run out into the middle of a field full of daisies and scream.  And scream, and scream, and scream.

I know you've all had this kind of day as well.  It's a day when nothing involving technology in even its simplest and most basic forms works for you.  You are cursed by the God of Technology, and you can only curse back.

I fled the East Coast Tornadoes. I don't know if anyone actually got one: I'm boycotting the Weather Channel because I'm tired of them calling everything a "potential" everything.  I'm a commitment-phobe myself, but even I think they're going too far.  They'll give it a Greco-Roman name, but they won't actually tell you anything you need to know.

Anyway, so I went from Point A to Point B.  I should point out that, while at Point A, I marveled at the fact that there seemed to be extra room in my laptop case this time around.  Given how often I travel and how much of a neat-freak I am, I can't help but notice something like this.  I thought it was odd, but refreshing and wonderful.

When I arrived at Point B, I realized that this was due to the fact that I forgot my AC/Charger.  It's still plugged in somewhere else.

If you have a seven-year old laptop, as I do, and you're stingy, as I am, this is disastrous.  I haven't purchased a battery for my laptop ever, since I don't typically wander around writing.  I sit bolt upright in penance while I write.  True, there may be a glorious view or an adorable kitty cat or a large glass of wine nearby, but I don't put my laptop on my lap.

And based on the reports of people who have burned themselves doing so, I guess I'm lucky I never did.

So, this realization about the charger meant that my laptop is now useless unless I can find another charger.

I'm sure you're chuckling at this point, and you should be.  Find a compatible charger for a laptop that's nearly a decade old?  Go with God, Thinker, cuz you're seriously screwed.

So I went with a lot of ill-tempered comments involving God to the Office Supply Underworld that is Staples, and I found a charger that promised to charge any brand of anything.  But I was particularly dismayed to realize that my anal-retentive decision to "jot down" the model number of my laptop had been for naught: I needed to know how many VOLTS my charger required.  

I did not know how many f***ing volts my charger used, and I said something very similar to this more or less out loud in the aisle at Staples while I stared at the package.  I pay no such attention to such things.  My brain capacity is nearly full as it is.  There is no room for storing such information.

The package had a lovely little phone number you could call to check the compatibility of your computer, so I reached into my purse, only to discover that I had left my cell phone at home.

I said a few things about my f***ing cell phone at that point as well.

So this was my existential dilemma.  Buy a charger that I was nearly 99% sure wasn't compatible (because my lap was so "old" it would be considered "obsolete"--no one charges things at that voltage anymore, it just isn't cool, etc. etc.) and be forced to bring it back, or not buy it, get home and realize that the 1% chance of success was actually in my favor this time around and be forced to bring myself back to Staples.  In the rain.  At rush hour.

So, I bought it.  It isn't compatible.

Meanwhile, before the trip to Staples, I found out that the digital archives I wanted to use for my collaborative project were suddenly, shockingly, unavailable.  I had checked a week before: they were available.

Actually, they had been available online for the past YEAR.  But suddenly, poof!

At this point, I realized what was happening.  I was being cosmically chastized for blogging about how wonderfully smoothly and productively everything was going.

Because I then struggled to get a wireless keyboard hooked to my iPad and my iPad began running so slowly that, when I tried to order a charger direct from the manufacturer, it got stuck three-quarters of the way through the order process.

You know, in that phase in which they've got your credit card number and you've clicked "submit," but no confirmation has arrived.  So you don't know if your card has been charged and will be charged again if you re-click "Submit," but you also know that you can't click "Cancel" because 1) that's no longer an option, or 2) it doesn't work if you do.

I tried to access my credit card account online to see if it had been charged.  It wouldn't let me in because I typed my password wrong (of course I did), and when I finally got in, it told me it couldn't update me about my recent transactions because they were experiencing "system problems."

Of course they were.

Shortly after this, I realized that the rebate offer for my contact lens purchase was not applicable to my  particular purchase, and I found out that my Staples Rewards Dollars will only take effect NEXT month.

At this point, I fully expected my phone to ring and have it be an ex parked in the driveway wanting to "talk about us."  (That did not happen, luckily.)

Instead, when I tried to email an article as a PDF file, the app hung up my email and the message sat in my outbox being "sent" for, oh, gosh, well over an hour, until I finally figured out how to go in and sever its connection to the server.  Any other time, I lose things willy nilly or hit "send" and they disappear into internet limbo.  This time, I couldn't lose that email to save my life. 

At this point, I became so enraged that I actually contemplated hurling my Ipad like a frisbee.  It has the right heft and balance... it could happen and it could be spectacular.

Thank god I had Kindle installed on it.  Because what brought me back from the brink was not the question of cost or the contemplation of the sheer senselessness of such an act, but the fact that destroying my iPad would be akin to destroying my books.  

I could never do that.

So, the moral of the story is, if you're ever afraid that I'm going to kill someone, jump in front of me and quickly hand me a book.

(FYI: if I quietly hand it back to you and say, "Get out of my way," then you really should get out of my way.)

I finally gave up and went to bed early.  This morning I woke up early.  (Funny how those two things are connected.) 

And although the Technology God was not smiling upon me yesterday, today, the Weather Goddess was.  In Ancient Egypt, her name was Nepythys, and she always wore a green dress, which just happens to be my favorite color. (I strongly suspect she supports my boycotting of the Weather Channel.)


So I was able to take advantage of the cloudy and cool temperatures to transplant all kinds of plants, to weed, and to install yet another raised bed (this time for an herb garden).  And now I am able to return to technology, with a tired body and a healed spirit.

I just got an email: the archives are back online.  Of course they are.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."