October 29, 2003

computerless day

I spilled water on my PowerBook this morning. This is not the first time this has happened: a year or so ago, Damian accidentally sprayed a water/pear juice mixture on my keyboard (the straw slipped out of his mouth). A combination of spew and a repair shop's unbelievable ineptitude killed that computer. I wasn't too concerned this time. That experience taught me that the most important thing you can do in this situation is absolutely nothing. Turn the machine off and wait for it to dry. Which is exactly what that inept tech did NOT do: he opened the computer up, saw the liquid inside, dried some of it out, then closed it up and turned it on. The live current ran through water and wham. Dead computer.

So today I shut the computer down, unplugged it and took out the battery, then set it upside down for the next several hours, like a piece of clothing on a drying rack.

The end result, and the reason I'm telling this story: I was without computer access all day today. I was momentarily stricken. No computer? No email? No web? No writing? No solitaire? No iPhoto? What am I going to DO???

I exercised. I transported Damian and his buddy (Carpool Moms R Us) from school (Damian's) to school (his friend's) to school (their shared afternoon program). I ate lunch. I shopped. I transported Damian home. I said hi to Damain's floor time therapist. I organized and cleaned and cooked. I read a little. I talked to Damian a lot.

Periodically, I'd think, "I want to go check my email" and realize I couldn't. Sort of like starting to twist a ring on your finger and realizing it's gone, an unconscious reflex. And occasionally I'd think, "I need to look that up" and realize the information was on my dormant machine. But mostly it was amazingly freeing. I got a lot done. I also realized how much more relaxing it is to be just a mom and not also a writer (computer's down, novel's on the computer, no writing today). I wasn't trying to juggle. I just was.

I don't think the answer is to lose the computer, and certainly not to lose the writing that's so important for my sanity and pleasure and self. But I do think it's good to wean myself from an overdependence on the machine. So I'm thinking of going on a computer diet. Checking less often. Cutting down on the fatty web surfing, the starchy computer games, the unneeded and unhealthy (for me, right now) excess.

Oh yes, and I turned the computer on tonight. Works just fine.

Posted by Tamar at October 29, 2003 10:49 PM

Ahhhh, but was it a reminder to back up your data -- just iin case? (My recent screen-replaxemenmt saga got me back in the habit....er....have I backed up since I got it back? Time to reach for the stack of CD-Rs!(

It also sounds like a true vacation from writing -- you didn't mention reading!


Posted by: Chris L. at October 31, 2003 04:45 AM

Data backed up days earlier. Thankfully. But yes, I need to keep that Word file of the novel up to date. Can't stand the idea of losing even two pages of work right now!

Posted by: Tamar at November 3, 2003 10:38 PM