Friday a week ago my world stopped dead. My MacBook Pro died. Stone cold dead. Caput. Gone. The pretty desktop image of a space scape no longer greeted me.
The thing was only eight years old and I thought it would last me another 11 years — like I hope my 2004 Honda Element with scarcely 90,000 miles on it will, up until I turn 100. But, no. Dead as a door nail.
Its death was catastrophic because I was in the middle of writing a business proposal. I had not backed up externally for six months so I panicked that a lot of recent stuff had simply evaporated into the ether.
“Simply Mac” in Macon came to the rescue. I left the inert metallic carcass there to retrieve what files they could from the hard drive. They did so for only $100.
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Now I had to replace the Mac quickly or my project was doomed. A quick call to a discount dealer and a credit card number and I was assured of two-day delivery.
Not to be: delay in UPS. Four days.
This completely obliterated the tranquility of my laid back senior retirement.
Then, when the new MacBook Pro did arrive — it was, of course, an updated newfangled version with a new system and unfamiliar apps that took me three days to learn, leaving only one full day to finally resurrect my project, correct it, and make my deadline.
Life without a computer
That week without a computer was hell. I couldn’t receive or send email; couldn’t write anything, couldn’t browse internet trivia; couldn’t look up things. Totally incapacitated. Cut off from civilization — except, of course, TV, which is only reactive, not proactive.
Had it not been for Fox News, the Animal Planet and Netflix, I don’t know what we’d have done. Read a book? That’s the fastest way to a nap at our ages.
Admittedly, my little world starts at sunrise in my big leather recliner with two cups of coffee during my quiet time for proofing what I wrote the previous day — many a letter-to-the-editor that I sleep on and don’t send. Then read The Telegraph’s Op/Ed, Letters, Dilbert and B.C., followed by Dear Abby and the obits. A bowl of cereal. Feed the pups, and “Fox & Friends” and “Varney & Co.”
During the latter, my eyelids tend to close and a short nap usually overcomes me. Then to the computer until lunchtime, launched with a glass of Merlot which lulls me back to the recliner afterward and into a recuperative nap — until one of the puppies, snoozing in my lap, awakens me for our afternoon walk — before another computer session and a short nap before supper. Then, the Fox News lineup or Animal Planet’s the “Tree-House Man,” “Dr. Jeff,” or “Tanked.” All within the comfort of knowing that the trusty MacBook Pro awaits my immediate command — that is, until it ups and dies on me!
I usually wake up at around 11 to go to bed.
My world amiss
If anything, the absence of a computer turned my life into an interruption of great magnitude. A major segment of the outside world (except for vicarious worlds of the media cut off — but how much can you take of that?) No email. No twiddling wth Photoshop, or Pages, or Safari. No browsing. Nothing to do.
Of course, since the early 1990s, I never thought of life without a computer. Now I know. Highly disconcerting. Cut off from virtual reality. A crutch even more vital than the boob tube or an iPhone.
This untoward little episode of mine, I hope, is not a premonition of what the world or life would suddenly become if cyber attacks crashed the entire internet, or the nation’s electrical grid, or the international banking/financial system. Thank god our government, the NSA, and CIA are impregnable!
These could well happen. Then such inconvenient little episodes as I experienced would be in the grand scale of things like a fly speck in the cosmos.
I think I’ll take another nap.
Avery Chenoweth Sr., is a Renaissance man living the life in Perry.