A week or so ago, my trusty laptop shut itself down while I was in the middle of typing. As usual, I had lots of windows open on three different browsers (Firefox for myself, Opera for Chicklish, Explorer for my freelance job), and colourful electronic post-it notes listing things to do. My evening was laid out in front of me: urgent work, semi-urgent work, posts to upload, blog comments to make, tweets to respond to, stuff to chat about. All relying on (or taking for granted) my computer.
And my computer?
The screen went black. Without warning.
I took a deep breath. I know computers. I’ve watched them grow up! What you do when they dramatically shut down is… you remain calm.
I counted to ten – calm – and tried to switch it back on.
I counted to twenty – calm… ish. I tried again.
I walked away for a while. I managed ten minutes before my thumb was irresistibly drawn to the ‘on’ button.
Um, not really. I ran frantic diagnostic checks, drawing on years of troubleshooting. It was the power supply! It had to be. I needed a new cable – that was all! I ran around the house pulling out anything that looked vaguely black and cable-shaped. I tried them all.
Nope. No, no, no.
I took more deep breaths. I slept on it. It didn’t help. I admitted defeat and took the computer to the repair shop in the morning. They diagnosed a problem with the power supply, at the computer end of things. They said they could try to fix it. (Try!) They told me they should be able to recover data “in about a week”. (Should? About a week?) By this time, I was pretty sure the problem was more serious than it looked. And I was right – the computer turned out to be a goner. That gutted laptop in the picture above? It’s mine. Ouch.
My world went wobbly. I had an old computer and a few backups, but not very recent ones. I patched together what I could and waited to hear whether the rest could be restored. I found I was locked out of sites I used without thinking. Most of my passwords were memorised by my trusty laptop (trusty, see?) and… I couldn’t remember them. I tried twenty different passwords for Twitter, but they were all wrong. I asked repeatedly for password reminders, but not a single one arrived. I realised they were being sent to an old email address, one I had no longer access to. I had to face it. I’d somehow landed right back in the early nineties, in a world without Facebook and Twitter and blogs – oh my!
Ironically, I’d been in the middle of writing about social networking (for this book about blogging) when it happened.
Also, the new novel I’m writing is partly about online/offline relationships. That’s all I can really say about it right now, but I wondered…
What if the internet disappeared? What if you could never, ever go online again? Would you miss it?
What would you miss most?
(You’re allowed to say Girls Heart Books. 😉 )
Now please excuse me, I have files to recover and lost tweeting/blog-commenting time to make up for…