It has been a strange couple of weeks. After five years of almost constant use I forgot how to exist without my computer, so when it went away I felt confused and lost. Really.
I had a couple of viruses I couldn’t kill, and after uninstalling a printer there was an annoying Windows pop-up asking for a CD-ROM that I’ve never owned and, just for laughs, my Internet browsers and Windows Explorer mistook my photos for viruses.
So I carried my hard drive to a local computer repair shop some friends recommended. The guy behind the counter told me the job would take “two to four hours”. Ten business days later it’s back on my desk where it’s supposed to be.
In the five years I’ve had this computer I forgot how to watch television. Instead of having it on in the background while surfing the Web, listening to the TV as though it were a radio, for two weeks I had to sit on the couch with the remote and watch ten programs at once five seconds at a time.
Normally anytime I hear something interesting on TV — it happens — I could immediately Google it. Suddenly I was back to the stone age and using some kind of ink leaving device and the backs of old envelopes, hoping I could find them later on if my computer ever came back.
At the moment I’m writing this and listening to Willem Defoe and William Peterson in “To Live And Die In LA”. Everything feels right.
At one point, maybe on Day Three, I realized I haven’t played my PS3 in months. So GTA4 got me through a few hours. I think, mostly, I just walked around my apartment waiting for something to happen.
Something I did discover is looking after my son for 12-14 hours every day is a lot different without a computer around. More walks, more buggy rides, more playing with the Big Yellow Ball.
The repairs took so long because they had to reinstall Windows and backing up my files took two days. I have a lot of files — among other things: 3,000 photos and 8,000 mp3′s. Give or take. Nearly five years of basically constant use apparently left my Windows XP OS with a lot of broken panes.
The computer people also had a few other machines to work on. This is what they told me when I called them every day. I would have called them every hour, but my son and I were playing catch with the Big Yellow Ball.
It took me about a day to rebuild the directories and folders they moved. For a long, long time I thought I had lost every artist from Rev. Gary Davis to ZZ Top. But, thank God, the computer people had just divided my music folder into two.
I lost a lot of programs with the Windows installation, my Microsoft Office software is gone. I gave the disks to someone years ago, so now I have to use WordPerfect… which isn’t too much of a sacrifice I guess.
Getting the little things back to normal has been the most frustrating process. Like, somehow I’ve lost the “Hibernate” option when I’m turning off the computer. So now I have to use “Standby”. I guess that’s not a huge sacrifice either.
They also added a bunch of RAM. And now my computer is clear of viruses, it has been thoroughly cleaned on the inside, and it’s faster than light.
So, $180 later, I have my computer back on my desk and I’ll be eating soup for the rest of the month.