My computer had been running slowly — so slowly you could move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, scoop kitty litter and recite “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow …” word for word before it did what you wanted.
The only thing you couldn’t do was check email because, well, the computer was tied up not doing what you’d asked previously.
I’d already said “please” and rubbed a rabbit’s foot, but neither worked. So I tried restarting — apparently the No. 1 elixir of the digital age — that, or throwing whatever device is acting up into the river.
A week or so earlier, the start menu on my computer surreptitiously moved from the lower left on the screen to the upper right. I’m guessing it happened in the dead of night, when computer demons and other dark powers come out to update software and do other nefarious work for their shadowy totalitarian leader.
To rejuvenate my crawlin’ king snake of a computer, I clicked on the newly relocated start menu and must’ve inadvertently stopped at save power mode before reaching restart. At least that’s what I think happened.
The screen went dark, all but the “entering save power mode” message that briefly flashed on the monitor. I’m as green as the next guy, but the last thing I needed was a personal illustration of “things at rest tend to stay that way.”
Email/Facebook/eBay-checking is my preferred mode of lollygagging, so I tried everything short of smelling salts to get the computer running.
Nothing worked, not hitting keys, nor moving the mouse, turning the computer off and on, pulling the plug, turning off the power strip or saying pretty please with additional ram on top.
I then turned to the patient technical expertise of my son, a 17-year-old product of the Digital Age who found that a computer that goes into save power mode and stays there is the result of a battery going dead in the motherboard.
The site he found explained how to change it, a task that required taking off the back of the computer and removing the moribund motherboard.
Since my wife’s upstairs computer hasn’t had access to the downstairs printer since the first Clinton administration, we decided to call “Greg the Tech Guy,” our personal guru. He’s put up with our helplessness for years and is polite about it, at least until he gets to the car and calls his wife.
But Greg said he’d be gone for 10 days, presumably taking vacation to recharge his batteries so he could put up with clueless Neanderthals like us.
In the meantime, there’d be no handy email/Facebook/eBay-checking/posting for me, which is like telling cats not to bump heads or stop on a dime to start grooming.
My computer addiction actually is as reflexive as cat grooming, even though some would argue that at least a cat gets something useful accomplished.
Without a computer, my Labor Day was what local news anchors refer to as a “long holiday weekend.” Mine evolved into a classic stretch limo of molasses-paced Suburban Pain.
For nearly two weeks, I’d be sharing time with my son and wife at my wife’s computer, a machine so ancient you can hear the squeaking harness wheel as a team of donkeys walks circles to generate power.
While other people were going to the lake, I was whining. My computer might have gone into eternal rest mode, but I was left eternally restless.
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