Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hanky Panky

"After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe and reboot."
 --Sex and the City, My Motherboard, MySelf

Today I watched the hard drive on my computer crash -- not the lil Pank, but the Mac-daddy, the Mac-daddy where all The Words live. There are disks, of course (I had backed up occasionally; I'm not an Animal), but a lot of those files are 20 years old, and either the software or hardware doesn't exist to read them. They might as well be sanskrit chiseled on tablets, and worn away by a thousand years of rain and sand. I have bits and pieces of three chapters of the next book on the laptop's desktop, but that's it. The rest of it could all be gone, though some of it's in print and could be partially resurrected from that (via a lot of protesting Interns).

It was nothing more than sheer luck that my geek-husband happened to be in the office -- helping me out with a few routine upgrades -- and he must've thought I was Typhoid Mary as every single thing I touched began to die. First, I was about to email him a file, "heyyyyyyy, we don't have Internet," I said. He punched a few buttons, made a few phone calls, and once we got through Bangalore customer service, and three separate people insisting it wasn't on their end, he had that back up and running (it was so on their end). As soon as it was back up, the computer froze, and I did what I usually do, which was to turn the server off and back on (or as he puts it, "that's some high-tech shit").

And, nothing happened.

It didn't come back on.

After a few minutes, he came in to see what was the matter.

We both sat there for a long time, watching. Sometimes, that works. Then an orange and black code flashed briefly, but ominously. "That's not normal!" I said. "It's never done that before." Then it just sputtered, and groaned, and flickered. "Uhhhhhnnnnn, uhnnnnnnnnnnnn, uhnnnnnnn," it said. For about ten minutes.

"Maybe I should call Scott," I volunteered.

"Who's Scott?" he asked.

And then I had to think for a second. Is it appropriate to have two geek-husbands? To let more than one man touch the Pank?  (Metaphorically, of course -- there's no actual Hanky...Panky in either case; I just feel very symbolically married to anyone in charge of my hard drive.)

Really, Scott would be more like my geek piece-on-the-side (again, metaphorically). He answered on the first ring "Long time no see," he said when he picked up. "I know," I said, adding abruptly, in the throes of panic, "And of course I'm only calling because I want something."

"That's what I'm here for," he said reassuringly, and I handed him over to the geek-husband to confer.

They both quickly agreed the hard drive was dying right before our eyes (though it's possible they put it less dramatically than that). It was summarily removed and taken to the off-site hospital where maybe it can  recover. I wanted to go with it, the same way I've always stayed in the room with my dogs while they've undergone surgery -- not because I could help, but just because I felt like I needed to be there.

He called to ask me if I knew anything about why there were two hard drives in one machine (uh, nooooo...given that all I'd heard him say today was "blah blah blah Ginger.") I just wanted to know "when can I come over and pet it?" I can't. It could take five or six hours to get a full prognosis.

Meanwhile, I can't stop thinking about the hundreds and hundreds of drafts that might be gone (for once, I'm not hyperbolizing; it might be closer to thousands).

When I asked my friend Greg if he knew how to get to the new place for Easter brunch this weekend, he said, "I fully expect a short story explaining how to find it. Don't disappoint," adding "unless of course it was on your hard drive, in which case, never mind."

"Well," I told him, "it starts with a pack of chain-smokin' hair stylists," (I'm moving next month from Hot Sorority Visigoths next door to just Goths-Next-Door).... but that's all I have. The rest of that story is in sick-bay.

"It's ok," he said, "I'm already hooked."

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry to hear about the hard drive. I was careful to use Prayer Manual 8 to say the prayers for your computers. As far as I knew it was the most recent update. That's why I was surprised to read this post this morning and also almost simultaneously received a pop-up message that read, "Prayer Manual 8.2 is now ready for download. Provides latest patches for hard drive prayers." Will offer the 8.2 prayers faithfully today.