Thursday, June 13, 2013


Not a murmur, not a peep, not even a whisper.  Just silence.  Where was my inner voice as I pressed the off button on my computer despite the screen advisory.   Please do not shut down your computer, it warned.   Installing update 1 of 12. 

Great, I thought.   The computer picks this very moment to install updates.  Doesn’t it know that I have a meeting five minutes away in eight minutes?  I can’t wait for updates.  I pressed the off button, slid the laptop into my bag, and left, the little voice still mute.

Not until the blue screen appeared fifteen minutes later as I tried to boot up in preparation for the meeting did I have any idea something might be wrong.  Once I’d followed the prompts in a fruitless cycle of non-repair, I knew I had to bite the bullet.   The little voice chose that moment to awaken.   "Confess your sin to iT," it advised.

Like just about all tech support people I have ever consulted, our iT guys communicated factual information without judgment.  They told me interrupting update installments wasn’t a good thing to do.  That much I had now figured out.   

"How much will I lose?"  I asked, thinking of the documents I have started saving on the desktop to make working from home easier.  I wasn’t worried about the stuff on the office server.

"Hard to say," they answered.  "Maybe nothing."  Really?  In my mind’s eye, I had been matching the critical desktop files to copies I had elsewhere.  I thought I was probably good except for two hours’ worth of work the day before.

"This won’t be a quick fix," they continued.  No doubt.  For the first time, I cringed. A couple of weeks?

"Define a quick fix."

"Well, it will be longer than ten minutes."  I would be happy with any fix, really, no matter how long.  So, this was no surprise.

'It might take two hours."  Just two hours?  Good news, in my world.

"Oh, that’s nothing," I said, relieved.

"You must have a lot of confidence in us," they concluded.  Yep.  If anyone could bail me out of this one, they could.

They picked up the computer, and, later in the afternoon, they had recovered all my files.  A-l-l my files, including the one I was sure was a goner.

"That was two hours of our afternoon, Yvette."

"Two hours of both your afternoons?"

I heard the little voice this time.  "Feel badly, Yvette."

I did and I didn’t.  I felt very badly that they lost time because of my indiscretion.   They have enough on their plates without rescuing someone whose little voice went to sleep.  On the other hand, I was quite proud of myself.   My other little voice—the self-deprecating, belittling, and chastising voice, remained silent, too.  I didn’t feel any particular dread; I didn’t panic.  No cold sweat.  No lead ball in the stomach.  No preoccupation that precluded work.  I just followed the steps, ready to manage whatever would happen. 

This is my older self reacting, diametrically opposed to my young and younger self.  It was philosophical; it envisioned Solitary Me; it remained balanced.  Instead of creating rants, it wrote poetry in the style of William Carlos Williams:

so much depends
two iT guys
a laptop complaining
about update interruption

so much depends
in the face of
a laptop’s revenge
after update interruption

My little voice piped up again.  "Those guys invested a good part of their afternoon for you, Yvette.  Don’t just say thank you.  Show thank you."

Believe me,  I listened.

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