Friday, December 31, 2010

The Muddled Mess

If you wish to understand yourself, you must succeed in doing so in the midst of all kinds of confusions and upsets.

First of all I must give my love and appreciation to those who offered their sympathy and understanding about my computer nightmare over the weekend into Tuesday.

I'm sifting through the ruins of my files to see what I cn salvage. I had over 200 photos, most of them are lost, but I managed to save a few from my camera and some email archives. My stories are still there on my Vagabond Tales blog, but all the notes and research I did is gone. I will have to do a lot of rethinking about the story I'm currently working on. Three of my unfinished stories are lost.

Also being pulled out of the soggy chaos of my records are some lessons. Always back everything up is, of course, one of them, but it's the very simplest one. Some people have said I was patient for putting up with 23 hours on the telephone over the three days. That's an arguable point. To a certain degree I felt I had no choice. But it moight have been lessened by beginning with a different attitude.

Desperation: I was so concerned about getting things fixed that I became reactive instead of proactive. The tech supporter needed me to unplug something from the back of computer. I was crawling around on the floor trying to find it when we got disconnected. I should have stopped and waited for her to call back. But I stubbornly insisted on finding that cable first and in the process I accidentally pulled one of the cords out of the back of the phone. She did call back but couldn't get me so she left a message. When I finally found the cable and unplugged it I had to call which meant I got a different tech support person and had to start explaining everything from the beginning which is why the first restoration didn't work and why the files were incorrectly backed up.

Rage: I got into such a fury about the problems that I wasn't thinking straight by the time I was 5 hours into the process and hence made some hasty moves that had to be redone.

Distress: Not being able to access my backed up files after carefully following the directions to back them up put the squeeze on my nerves. I tried to compensate with too many cups of coffee and too many cigarettes which only made things worse. By the time I reached 13 hours on the phone I was a manic mess.

Frustration: Life is full of frustrations. It's how we react to them that matters. I piled up in my mind all the previous computer problems I have had and was pounding on the door of heaven asking why I had to suffer all this when some people just turn their computers on and never bother with all the trouble I have had. I was trying to throw myself on the mercy of a benignly uncaring universe.

Sorrow: When it became for certain on Tuesday evening, after over 20 hours on the phone, that my files were never going to be recovered, I felt robbed, not only of my personal and important information and pictures, but of three days of the time and energies of my life. When I had been looking forward with joy to 4 uninterrupted days of reading, writing, painting and thinking, I had spent it on the phone in the mundane and uninspiring task of trying to get my computer working again in all of it's facets. I really felt strongly like giving up.

Dependence: The whole experience made me realize how dependent I am, and many others are, on this electronic and technical marvel that didn't even exist 50 years ago, and, at the same time, how vulnerable it is to breaking down, much more vulnerable than an automobile. How in less than ten years has it come to run so much of my life that life stops if it stops. For an aged man who lives in a town where very few know him, the contact with the world and the invisible friends I have as a result are about as important to me as food. But that also means I am chained to it with all its vagaries.

These are some of the lessons I've gleaned from the muddled mess that was the result of my 3 day war on malfunctioning machinery. I'm sure there are other bits of wisdom still to be salvaged out of the chaos, and I'm still rummaging for them.

DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant even that happened in 2010?

I await your answer.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Hope you will get a flashdrive and start using that as a regular backup. They are inexpensive, but priceless.

Valerie said...

I am so, so very sorry you had to endure what you did. I would have never made it on the telephone as long as you did. It would have been smashed across the room. I hope you have a good New Year's Eve, Dana. xox

Rose said...

Soooooooooooo glad that ordeal is over. We all have been there at one time or another and it surely gets the blood pressure up.

I went thru it too installing a new computer and I also lost some files and duplicated others....such a mess.

I think I should take some computer tech courses.

Hugs, Rose

pacifica62 said...

This appears to have been somewhat of a life changing event for you db. While you were recounting your experiences I saw a host of other attributes which are to be admired: patience, focused attention, determination, hope, faith, persistance, tenacity, stalwartness and quiet resignation to name a few. I know that your computer problems are far from over and I do wish you some unexpected surprises as you sift through the rubble. Very, very difficult to see one's life's work and thinking vanish in a puff of computer dust.

Ajor said...

Sorry to learn of your computer troubles. I've always felt that a "forced do over" is the prime opportunity to refine even the smallest detail missed the first time around. Frustrating of course, but very rewarding in the end.

Gerry said...

I lost a novel once before computer days. I lent the only copy I made to my sister who somehow misplaced it and did not even remember having it! I still regret the loss of that novel at times, but most of the time if I lost something I would think of it as an opportunity to 'do it over' and thereby improving it as one of your commenters suggested.