I am living under my own personal storm cloud which rains on me and only me for no particular reason. And I have no umbrella.
Yesterday morning, my laptop refused to load. After some time, it chose to do what it was supposed to do. And I began to work. I work online, you know, right? And about, oh, ninety minutes into my shift, my computer began to spontaneously type a string of the letter Q, something like this: qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq. And then it beeped. A lot.
I frantically began shutting down windows, trying to stop the madness. I snatched the ethernet cord from the router. I may have whimpered.
I resorted to pressing the power button until the computer grew silent. Comatose. Perhaps dead.
Then I turned it back on and it froze on the DELL screen.
So I switched chairs and used my kids’ computer for the rest of my shift. Periodically, I’d glance over at my laptop to make sure it was still sitting with that stupid screen frozen on its face.
After my shift, I ran a diagnostic scan, got an error message and decided to call Dell . . . and reached India. I wondered what time it could possibly be in India if it was 6 p.m. here. Before the man would help me, he informed me that I’d have to pay $39 since my warranty had expired. Of course it had because my computer is almost eighteen months old after all. Ancient, right?
I spent nearly two hours on the phone with the guy in India. I had to ask him to repeat pretty much every sentence, which made me feel stupid and half-deaf, but I couldn’t understand his quick cadence. He had me pulling out the battery, draining the power, unscrewing screws, sliding out the hard drive, removing the CD/DVD drive, reassembling everything–all of this repeated in various configurations. I felt like I was doing unauthorized open heart surgery with a pocket knife. Sometimes I’d see the blessed sight of my own icons and thought all was not lost.
Then he’d tell me to shut the computer down, reboot it and I’d get the frozen DELL screen again.
At last, he suggested that perhaps my hard drive was dying and that maybe I could salvage the stuff on it. I ordered a new hard drive. He told me to leave the computer gutted overnight, then drain the power, reattach the power cord and reboot the computer and that if I were very very very lucky I’d be able to access the contents of my hard drive again.
I did that this morning and the computer responded normally. I was able to email myself all the important documents I hadn’t backed up. I uploaded all my pictures to Costco so I can order them at some point. I have no blank discs in the house since I live with teenage boys who have run through every blank disc we’ve ever had almost as quickly and pointlessly as they consume all the Cheerios. So I couldn’t download my iTunes to a disc, but I did hook up the iPod and get all the music on it.
But what a nightmare.
Hey, the computer is still working! I’m typing on it right now, but I fully expect it to be dead as a doorknob in the morning when I turn it on.
Oh, and so today while I’m working on my boys’ computer (and uploading pictures to Costco from my laptop), all three computers on our network stalled. Our internet connection never goes out but it did today, right in the middle of my shift. I had to call Comcast and the impatient woman on the phone instructed me to unplug both modem and router, which reset the internet. I guess. I don’t know what it did, but we were back online.
Hopefully, now, the Universe has collected whatever debt I owed and will stop raining upon me.