Some years ago, when I was a super-senior (5th year) at Oberlin, I had a cat, Arthur. I adopted him, a dumpster kitten, from certain death by fleas, worms, starvation, and an upper respiratory tract infection. It was perfect -- we took care of each other. I was still recovering from a particularly nasty breakup, so Arthur was massively therapeutic for me. Thing was, Arthur was also mischievous and clumsy. I was working at my computer one night, cup of hot chocolate by my side, when Arthur decided it was an excellent time to leap up on my desk and keep me company. He spilled my full cup of cocoa directly into my disc drive.
For a while after that incident, my computer had trouble ejecting discs, presumably because of the chocolate gumming up the works. So I would swab the tip of something sharp -- a needle, a pen, scissors, whatever came to hand -- with a bit of water on it around the opening to dissolve the sugary impedance; and sometimes the computer could only eject a disc part-way, so I'd have to quickly snatch it out the rest of the way before my computer sucked it back in and started playing it. Sometimes I just let the computer "rest" for a bit. Repeated eject attempts seemed to tire it out, and after a good night's sleep, it was able to redouble its efforts and spit out a disc.
Last Sunday, however, my computer finally failed. Evan and I watched Clerks (which is very funny, even if the actors do speak much too quickly). Perhaps my computer liked Clerks, and didn't want us to send it back to Netflix. Whatever the case, the disc Would Not Come Out. The computer seemed to accept the command to eject -- it flashed the "eject" symbol on the screen, and made the funny mechanical noises a MacBook makes when ejecting a disk, but no disc appeared, the ejecting noises stifled and morphed into the inserting noises, and the computer was happy to announce the presumed reinsertion of the disc. Of course I tried this multiple times, after rebooting, tilting the laptop, and with the water trick. Stymied.
On Monday I took the computer to the IT store. The brilliant person at the counter confirmed that there was, in fact, a mechanical problem. I very maturely agreed to send off the computer for repairs right then and there, not even asking to use it for one more afternoon or to say goodbye. There really is no such thing as a convenient time to not have a computer.
On Thursday I got a call with the estimate for the cost of replacing the drive. It's a bunch. But I need this thing to work. I am grinning and bearing it.
So I've been trying to think of this time as my computer-free retreat. A time for reading, for knitting, for cleaning, for exercising, for taking long baths and burning incense. Besides, I can check my email and do other computery things in the lab. And when Evan comes over, he brings his laptop, which I can use to do things like write long-overdue blog posts.
In other news:
The Lilac Festival started today. I can't wait to go tomorrow!
Jonny is leaving tomorrow, driving back to CT. He's bringing home the work of my hands: a comfort shawl I knit for Carolyn, a baby blanket and socks for Zoe's baby, to be born at the end of the month, and Mom's extra-soft micro-something-or-other neck pillow, re-stuffed and sealed and scented with lavender essential oil. As great as this bounty is, it's not everything I've been assigned to make/fix. I'm still working on this baby blanket (I really should have gone with larger needles to speed things up, but too late, much too late, now). And Mom brought over a large bag of things (skirts, sheets) that need new elastics sewn into them. I've never really learned how to sew in elastic, so that's probably why I haven't done it yet, but I'm the most fiber-inclined individual in the family, so I should rise to the challenge.