This is weird. Both of my laptop computers crashed within two days of each other, with the result that yesterday for the first time in a year I missed my Friday deadline to upload my Kindle Chronicles podcast. In fact, yesterday’s show was going to be the anniversary celebration, complete with audio comments from listeners and a great interview with tech blogger and columnist Mike Elgan. I have a genius bar tech appointment at the Cambridgeside Apple Store in an hour. I’m not sure how soon they will be able to tell me if the data on my MacBook Air is salvageable. I am trying hard to visualize the Apple genius’s waving of a red pixelated wand that will bring forth the interview, the audio comments, and all the other stuff I need to complete Episode 53.
I’m typing this on my wife’s Mac Mini in her quilting studio. “I’ll be glad when you get your computers back,” she said just now. “Maybe you could try writing your blog on your iPhone, like the Japanese authors that guy was talking about.” She’s referring to Mike Elgan’s story in the interview, of how cell phones in Japan have become a popular platform for reading short fiction, because so many people commute in tight quarters in Japan. And they not only read books on their cellphones, the write them with their thumbs on cellphones. I’m a decent typist on my iPhone, and I have the iBlogger app for posting to this blog from the phone. But it’s a slog to create a blog post that way, especially when there is still one operating computer in the house.
My wife is momentarily distracted by arranging fabric pieces on the floor of her studio, but I know my Mac Mini mooching time will be limited. “Play nice, Lennie,” she said after I had barked at her for unwittingly deleting the WordPress page where I had begun this post. “I feel bad your computer crashed, but I didn’t do it.” There is no denying the truth of that statement. And if the tables were turned, I would certainly be nowhere near as generous with my computer(s) if hers had been the one to crash. “You’re going to finished soon, right?” she asks pleasantly.
Of course I am promising my Higher Power that if He will please, please bring my MacBook Air back to life, I will always, always back up everything to a hard drive or my MobileMe place in the cloud. I’d even offer up the MacBook Pro, which is getting along in years and does not contain my most recent podcasting files. There are no non-backer-uppers in line at the Genius Bar.
Mainly, I feel disoriented. I spend so much of my time on the Internet, using my computers, that to have both of them snatched away is sort of major. Like waking up from a dream, or going into one. Even in the midst of my panic last night over missing the podcast deadline, I understood that this was not fatal, that stuff happens, and take it a day at a time, and all that blah blah. But still. My father devotes a lot of his time to raising national awareness of the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack that could shut down the electrical grid. Just this infinitesimal taste of personal disruption makes me understand better why Dad is so passionate about this threat, which he considers to be a clear and present danger. I mean, what if there hadn’t been a Mini in the house, or my iPhone still connected to the Internet? I don’t mean to be silly here, because I truly am getting a taste of how much I depend on this network.
It’s getting close to the time to leave for the Apple Store. It’s a sunny, clear day in Cambridge, and the Cambridge Boat Club is hosting a rowing regatta on the Charles. Sooner or later I’ll be back on the net with all my tools. It’s good to get shaken up once in a while, and to land on your feet feeling more grateful for what’s still standing.