Tech Girl Sans Tech

This one deserves hashtags of the #firstworldproblems variety written all over it. Be prepared for some whining and know this, please: I am not this materialistic about anything but gadgets. But I need my damn gadgets. Everybody has something. 

It all started with a blinking folder with an exclamation point and a trip to the Apple Store. Oh Crap. My laptop was dead…

Apparently, Macbook Airs purchased between June 2012 and June 2013 (mine was a Christmas/Birthday gift to myself in 2012) had the potential for a flash drive failure. In my case, that failure was triggered by an OS update. The problem was happening to so many computers, that the replacement flash drive was on backorder, meaning I would be without my computer for up to one month.

Me: Is there any way we can get it running? At least for now? I’m a writer. This is a part of my livelihood.

Mac Genius (who was very nice and deserved much better than me): No, I’m sorry. Your flash drive is fried. I couldn’t even get it to run the diagnostic. *winces* When was the last time you backed up?

Me: About 20 days ago. Plus, most of my stuff is available in the cloud somewhere. But still, I need my laptop to do work on.

Mac Genius: I’m sorry. We will try to get your computer running as quickly as possible.

(Coincidentally, that ended up being the exact amount of time she quoted up front.)

Me: Do you guys rent out laptops or iPads or something? I mean, how is a person supposed to operate without a computer for a month?

(This is not fictional, though it does read like satire. I actually said this. And you should picture me with tears in my eyes. I’m very ashamed of myself.)

Mac Genius: (chuckling sympathetically) Not a bad idea. I should tell my bosses that one.

(Yes, my friend. You should.)

I’m aware of how much this makes me look like a spoiled brat, but I was genuinely freaked. You see, I have this issue with patterns. I’ve never bothered to have this diagnosed, but I have orders by which I do things and they are according to lists and when something goes wrong and I have to deviate from the order I get very, very anxious. (Anxiety disorder? OCD? Armchair therapists, get to work!)

The important thing is not what disorder I suffer from. It’s that my lists were on that computer. My computer, which was gone for a month.

I was having a full-blown freak out.


…I survived!  And here’s how!

1) Lunch breaks on the cloud: Thank God for my job. I was able to get a quick view of where I was on each of my projects so I could keep working the old fashioned way.

2) A pad and a pen: Holy crap! For an entire month, my hands felt like they were going to fall off. But I kept writing! Revising old work was a bit more of a problem.

3) The cloud and the internet: Thanks to my obsessive need to post my son’s every move on Facebook, I lost no pictures. Thanks to doing all of my writing on the cloud and backing up to my computer and external hard drive often, I lost no writing at all.

4) Not throwing away ALL old things: I don’t like to keep stuff because I have a real life fear of becoming a hoarder (it runs in the family) and I already tend to keep a lot of things I don’t really need. But a half dead laptop ended up being a treasure at this time. Ismael took an old computer of his (not a Mac. WELP!) and wiped its memory clean, reinstalled its operating system, and had it doing its best work possible. Of course, its best possible work involved buggy internet connections, restarting itself three times a day for seemingly no reason at all, and a sticky ‘N’ key, but it was something.

5) Deep breaths: Yes, the lists were gone until my computer came back home. But I remembered most of it and what I couldn’t didn’t deserve my anxiety because they weren’t important enough to remember, right? But mental issues are not logical and this one took a lot of work and psyching myself out all over the place, but I pulled it off. And promptly, upon the return of my computer, I backed up all of my lists on the cloud and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

So, what did I learn from my time as Carrie from Sex and the City post-’Sad Mac’? I learned that, should the premise of Revolution ever come to pass and we all lose our technology, I will be the crazy person in the corner drooling in a cup. I should be upset about that, but that didn’t stop me from smooching my laptop when it was returned and ignoring all of the weird looks from the people at the Apple Store.

By now, you’re probably trying not to laugh at me, but you should stop.  Go ahead, laugh.  I deserve it.

Anyone been there before?  Please share below. 

Note: This weekend, I will be attending the Writer’s Digest Conference here in NYC. Anyone else attending? Let me know! We can meet up! Tomorrow also happens to be my beloved son’s fifth birthday. Since this blog is all about my attempts to balance my writing and the rest of my life, expect a blog post on the 15th about how I managed to balance a writer’s conference, a pitch slam, a family get together, and a kid’s birthday party, all in one weekend. I’m tired just thinking about it. I’m also going to try to live tweet from the conference, so keep your eyes peeled! And keep your fingers crossed for me – I’ll be pitching my novel to agents.

Until next time! 🙂


14 thoughts on “Tech Girl Sans Tech

  1. Oh, my goodness, I would never make it a month without my computer. Although I do have an iPad (old one–my brother gave me his when he upgraded) with a wireless keyboard, so I guess I *would* survive. And I use a paper planner still (much to my techie hubby’s chagrin).

    I did try to write on my iPod Touch once in a fit of desperation. Between hitting the wrong keys and autocorrect being a nightmare, it wasn’t really worth it. Pen and paper would have been WAY better.

    I do actually have a “writing notebook.” It has my notes and crazy jumbled thoughts that come to me and printed pages of research stuck in the back and it’s PURPLE so it makes me happy. And I needed for a meeting, and then I took my kids to a local festival afterward–and I haven’t seen it since. I could cry. So I do understand.

    So glad you have your laptop back! (And jealous that it’s a Mac!!)

    1. I did actually get an iPad after the events of this blog post (which happened a couple of months ago and not this month), so if this ever happens again, I’ll be somewhat better equipped, but STILL. I don’t think I could REALLY write from that though.

      I have a writing notebook too. I don’t usually write in it as my primary mode, but I do use it often on the subway. Any writing I do on the subway is in that writing book. 🙂

      I hope you liked my live tweets! I will definitely post the blog soon. It will probably involve a play-by-play of my whacked out weekend and require two posts. It was crazy. There was much more info there than I could manage to live tweet.

  2. Wow. I am so impressed with how you handled this. You are my hero! And I see absolutely nothing wrong with making out with your computer in public, not when you have a relationship like that.

    Can’t wait to hear ALL about the conference!!

    1. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE my computer. Also, I am such a professional. 😉 Clearly.

      I will probably end up splitting that blog into two posts coming soon. I figured a humorous play by play of the weekend in question would be an enjoyable read. I hope you like it!

  3. I’ve been there. My mother board got fried during a storm and I was without my computer for about 3 weeks. Then, when I got it back I discovered 3 of the ports on the front of the computer no longer worked. So, I unplugged and schlepped it back to Staples. Not a happy camper. As it turns out the repair people damaged the front panel when they were taking the computer apart. As the result the little plastic thingies that are supposed to snap snugly to the body were broken off. I was advised it would probably be another few weeks IF the outsourced IT guys even admitted to breaking the front panel. There was no way I was going to lose out on income for another few weeks. So, get this – the wiz kid at Staples brought out some bright pink duct tape and did the best he could to make the ports connect to the box. They worked for a while, but now I’m in the same boat. After that debacle, I bought a laptop as backup if I ever have to do without (I still prefer to work on my desktop).

    Duct tape is definitely not a cure-all as testosterone laden humans seem to think.

    Fortunately, Staples no longer outsources their computer repairs. Figures.

  4. Yikes. Everyone’s worst nightmare. I turned into a voracious backer-upper about four major nightmares ago. (Yes, I’m a bit slow.)

    But I always have notebooks handy where I always jot down notes. Those have survived coffee, wine and water spills. My last laptop did not. 🙂

  5. I just did two weeks without mine, but I had my phone, so not sure that counts as being computer free since I was still on FB and playing my games – writing had to be done in the old notebook, though. I tried doing it in emails to myself on the phone and gave up, LOL!

    1. Agreed! I can’t do anything productive on my phone. Trying to do edits on my phone would have been a wreck. Lol but I do have my notebook which totally saved me in this situation. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Yup, been there, suffered that. Way back in my early computing days I had a muse-inspired writing marathon and created THE BEST chapter ever. Except it flew off the keyboard unabated, then just as I was about to hit save we had a power-cut. The whole thing was lost! The rewrite never felt as good. Lesson – turn on autosave for 5mins, so that only 5 minutes work can be lost. I also use a Mac, and for a while now I have had an external hard drive linked to Time Machine. This auto backs up EVERYTHING every couple of hours, digests daily, then weekly & monthly for older ones. It has saved me more often than I can count.
    Of course, you need a machine to restore to! Thankfully most of my important stuff is in dropbox too & I can get it on my iPad and my laptop. What I’d do if all three were unavailable for a prolonged period I really don’t know.

    1. That. Is. The. Worst.

      Also, the rewrite, when something is lost and you are recreating from memory, never feels as good as that lost bit did.

      For a while now, I’ve been doing most of my primary writing on Google Docs because of their autosave feature. Plus, I write in many different places, so this helps me be able to access the documents universally without having to carry a flash drive everywhere with me. I also don’t quite trust the cloud, so I back this up on my computer regularly, and back that up on an external hard drive and on drop box. So, no shortage of back ups! I’ve got back ups for my back ups! 🙂

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