My Right Hand
With apologies for the hiatus, but my right hand has been severed metaphorically. On a scale from Pong to launching a Global Positioning Satellite, my comfort and reliance upon technology falls in the mid-level range. At work, a computer shut down means I am dead in the water. At home, my list of television shows saved to my DVR hovers consistently at zero, since I find the technology to be of little interest to me. In my car, I love tapping Pandora to identify new songs that I might enjoy, but a spiral-bound map is always preferred to a Garmin (see “Traveling With Boys,” November 2011).
I love the conveniences technology brings to my life, and besides my professional dependence, I never defined myself by the hardware and software around me until my beloved netbook unexpectedly died three days into my epic vacation. Lost to virtual inner space are three days of photographs and videos full of memories, and while I found ways to manage moving forward (new SD card, borrowed hotel business centers, etc), I found my greatest loss in the Hard-Drive Catastrophe of 2012 became how much my little electronic friend suited my blogging. Suddenly, sitting at another screen felt less creative, less inspiring, and less like my fading friend.
Consider the feeling when a common cold begins to take hold: a little achy, maybe a bit feverish, and notably more sluggish as the first day wanes and a collection of microscopic viruses burrow into your system. That is how my beloved Ray must have felt as I prodded him on his final day to download the first wave of pictures snapped inside the gates of Yellowstone National Park. Maybe I had missed that signs that his performance was lagging, until suddenly, he just sputtered and whimpered and failed to respond; and then, nothing. I used my digital camera to grasp an image of his faintly illuminated MS-DOS screen. Nearly a week later, realizing my neglect and accepting my loss, did I take my little buddy to a walk-in clinic for ill hardware; a twenty-first century computer witch doctor, whom I affectionately refer to as my knight in shining pre-formed casement.
Poor Ray, I pushed him too hard, and I failed to appreciate that he had become more than a laptop of convenience. Perching lightly on my lap, he became an extension of the thought process as I scribed. Like an inkwell to Jane Austin, like Jack Kerouac pecking at his typewriter, Ray translated my mind’s visions. He worked as the tool that transferred the dialogue in my head into the written word and uploaded these recollections to the world. But now, thanks to the wonders of 21st century technology, an email on my smart phone links me to a website notifying me that a package tracking towards my home is allowing me to monitor the journey of Ray on his way home to me. My muse, my magical keyboard, my phoenix returns to bring forth new life and new posting, and will arrive in less than twenty-four hours. Travel swiftly my friend, I await your homecoming and promise I will never take you for granted again.