Saturday, January 14, 2012

The $1300 lesson in self-esteem

Exactly where things began to go wrong... well, there are a few theories on that. There was a warning sign of sorts a few days ago, where my audio started to get periodically choppy--was this the sign of larger problems, or just a momentary blip? Or it may have happened yesterday, when I slipped on some ice and went ass over heels flat on my back, landing largely on the artifact in question. Whatever the cause, my very expensive, very still new laptop's hard drive decided it had enough of this vale of tears, and shuffled off the electronic coil last night.

My computer froze last night, and upon turning it back on, I received the message that it detected no bootable drive. I then spent a few hours in my office running diagnostics routines (the only programs that still functi, a few more hours downstairs in the computer lab verifying that the results meant what I thought they meant, and finally a few more hours in my office on the phone with Dell tech support. Not the best way to spend a Friday night. (Not my worst, though, which is depressing in a different way.) The first guy on tech support was less than helpful; since I said the final freeze had happened while I was playing a game, he insisted that my problem was with the game manufacturers. I was not particularly displeased when o call was cut off (or, possibly, he got sick of me and hung up). The second response was much more helpful, identifying the problem and coming up with the same answer I did, the faulty hard drive. So they're sending out a self-addressed box for me to ship the thing back out to them for repairs. I figure it'll be about a month or so before we're back up to full business.

The interesting thing in the whole affair (besides the lesson in dealing with overworked, underpaid tech people) and probably the only positive note is my own reaction. Years ago, I did , discussing how I'd feel personally guilty when something went wrong with my computer. This time--well, I'm annoyed, and not thrilled about the work setbacks and readjustments. But I'm not really blaming myself. Could I have been more careful with the laptop? Well, maybe, and I'll certainly take more care when I get it back. But it's not like I was overly negligent, either. I bought it for my computer needs and used it accordingly. I like to think my lack of guilt is part of the new outlook I'm trying to move toward. Essentially, bad things happen; just because they happen to you doesn't make you a bad person. And good thing happen too; the key is to face both the good and bad with grace. It's nice to know that wherever my self-esteem is these days, it isn't tied up in things I can't control, or in second-guessing myself. It would have been even nicer to know that without the cost in efficiency, time, and dollar signs, but, well, live and learn, I guess.

Later Days.

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