Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Maybe I'll Go Back to My Typewriter

The other day, in a fit of despair, I decided to hook up my new printer.

I despaired because I don't always like new things, particularly new electronic things. I still use my original Kindle from back when they were only books, no color, no internet. I happily drive a 2004 minivan. My laptop is five months old and still does these weird fits where I'm writing my manuscript and suddenly it shows me an email from several weeks ago, and I can't get the email off the screen, and I don't know why. However, the printer in my office had decided, after many smaller fits, to never work again, and it turns out I actually do need a printer. I bought one and carried it around in the minivan for a few days, and then realized I would actually have to take it out of the van and connect it to something.

It was a colossal pain in the neck. My previously reliable, though venerable (let's put it this way: we predate Windows XP) desktop computer kept insisting that it wasn't actually online, and the online thingy kept insisting that it was. Printers come with far too much intelligence these days, so I had to keep doing things--and then the computer would yell, "Offline!" even though it wasn't. My laptop was online and running smoothly, except that I kept getting frustrated when the desktop mouse wouldn't make the laptop cursor move--then I couldn't find a manuscript that I SWEAR I'd saved on my laptop, though as I type this I just had a brilliant thought, it might be on a USB stick. I might have written it when I was struggling with the Once and Former Laptop, ye of little memory and sluggish speed. Halleluia. Because of course that was the part that was pissing me off the most.

It wasn't an important manuscript. It wasn't a novel. But manuscripts of any sort are things I'm not supposed to lose.
After awhile, when everything seemed quite functional and normal (except the missing ms) I went away to brew a restorative cup of tea. When I returned the computer was broken. It seems to have committed suicide, which is startling, because I never knew it was feeling bad at all. Now this funky error message in a little box moves randomly across the screen, and that's absolutely all it does. I've restarted it several times. It does nothing else. I don't know what it means, and no buttons or combination of buttons or clicking or whathaveyou seems to affect it in any way.
Which means, probably, that I'll have to buy a new computer. And then I'll have to take it out of the box and plug it in, and probably teach it to go online and everything. It will be horrible. I've actually thought of abandoning the desktop machine and just using my laptop in my office. The problem is that I've got a lot of stuff taped to, leaning on, or hiding behind my desktop monitor. Get rid of it, and I'll have to clean. Hard to say which is worse.