My last blog post, on Friday, covered my fears about the date 11-11-11. I said I wouldn't get out of bed, which didn't happen. I did in fact get out of bed and went, as I usually do, to my office. I turned on my computer, answered a few emails, and, within 20 minutes or so of turning the thing on, it crashed. Fried. My Dell, of which I have been so fond for so long, is deceased.
11-11-11. I knew it.
I'm fortunate in that I have more than one computer, and at the moment am working on my laptop (a Mac). The Mac's great. It does not, however, play host to all of the many and, as I thread through my computer life, varied informational tidbits that I foolishly stuffed into the Dell. Financial information. Work information. Contact lists. My written works: books, columns, articles, letters, and God only knows what else. I have not been particularly good at backing up, but as a hoarder struggling to reform, I do have much of what I've lost on the Dell stashed elsewhere. On flash drives and in hard copy, on other computers (yes, there are more), and on email. I haven't been as smart as my friend Gloria, who stores her vital information "in the void" on an ftp site. But like so many in our new techie world, I trusted that the dots on the screen and then mysteriously stored in a black box at my feet were safe. They were, as it turns out, not.
This 11-11-11 debacle of mine caused me on Friday to shut down. Having misplaced my Blackberry in a quest to reorganize my bedroom, I figured this was a sign from above to just go ahead and tune out entirely. I did keep in touch with "out there" via the television (which was more background noise than anything else over the weekend) and I was lucky that the telephone never rang for three days. Nobody knocked at the door. I was, as it were, unplugged.
I gotta say, while I'm not happy that my computer crashed and that my Blackberry went missing, the experience was wonderful. I puttered. I sorted Christmas ornaments and did laundry. I scratched an unidentifiable substance off the kitchen faucet handles. I built fires and gave the dog a bath. Then on Saturday night I gave myself a bath, swishing around in the bubbles in utter silence. I treated my hair to a deep condition and filed my nails. I pampered my house and my dog and myself and never had to speak a word to another human being, not on the phone, in person, by text, or by way of any other means we all now have of keeping in touch. Sometimes, I don't want to keep in touch. I love my friends and family and appreciate every one of them. But man, sometimes you have to lock the door and turn off the lights, both literally and otherwise.
Not unlike my poor sad computer, our brains have to be shut down every once in awhile or we'll crash, and recovering the information stored between the part in my hair and my jawline would be vastly more difficult than rummaging around in my desk drawer for a flash drive. I woke up this morning alert and repaired, able now to face the unfortunate situation going on in Dell-land. I fired up the Mac, found my Blackberry, and surged ahead, cobwebs gone.
I didn't grow up with all the media input the technology experts have inflicted on the young. And I really hope kids who are labeled ADD or ADHD or any other number of "diagnoses" doctors have for explaining the inability to focus can learn that sometimes they need to unplug from the network of communication. It's difficult, I know. I love email, too, and texting, and being able to call somebody in Belgium from a tiny piece of plastic in my pocket...while standing in the grocery check-out line. Still, I hope our kids who are so overwhelmed with the lust to communicate learn that sometimes taking a few days to scrub the grout and poke around in the Christmas boxes might be enough to refresh the best computer ever made, the one right there above the neck that occasionally needs to be placed gently on a pillow in a quiet room and given a chance to reboot.