July 14, 2008

Nothing But Blue Screens Do I See

It was a lovely shade of blue, really. Turquoise, cerulean, azure. Like a tropical sea or Patrick Dempsey’s eyes. And under normal circumstances, I might have appreciated its beauty more.

“Blue screen error,” was the term the computer technician used when the hue first appeared on my computer screen two weeks ago. “Blue screen error” meant my computer wouldn’t start. It meant my computer-centric life was at a stand still.

Thankfully, my cry for help to tech support (in India) was answered by Kan, a very knowledgeable computer whiz who spoke English with the most endearing Indian/Australian/Irish accent. Lucky for me, Kan could and Kan did. After some clever troubleshooting, he helped me get my system up and running in under an hour. I was so grateful, if he didn’t live halfway across the globe, I would have invited him to dinner. (Although I’m not sure if I would have offered him curry, shrimp on the barbie or a pint of Guinness.)

Ah, those were the good old days. Me and my computer tech bonding over blue screen errors like old friends.

How quickly the story can change.

Last Thursday my computer started going bonkers. Error windows flashed on the screen like Fourth of July fireworks. Trying not to freak out, I reverted to my standard solution—I rebooted the system...again and again. But each time I did more error windows popped up.

And then on a restart it appeared--the vibrant blue that made my heart stop. A blue screen error. Not again!

It was late so I decided to deal with the problem in the morning. Plus, I was desperately optimistic that during the nightlong timeout my computer would think about its behavior and vow to do better the next day. It works for my kids most of the time.

However, in the morning I discovered computers are not reflective creatures. The blue screen errors went from bad to worse and my feeble attempts at self-diagnosis were grossly unsuccessful.

Frantically I dialed tech support again, hoping the situation would be resolved by another clever technician, but deep down fearing the worst. But I just knew Kan could do it. Of course, in a country of like a billion computer tech support people I had a better chance of pulling cherries on a slot machine than speaking with him again. It was no surprise when a different voice answered my cry for help. One, I should add, that wasn’t as clever and helpful as Kan. One who in hindsight was perhaps more aptly named, Maybe I Kan.

Yet, even though I sensed his lack of creative problem solving skills, I trusted his knowledge and followed him anyway.

I’ll never know for sure, but this may have been a mistake.

Long story short, after I spent over two hours on the phone, threw said phone across the room, shed a few tears, and uttered many words that are unfit to print, my computer is dead…and I think I killed it.

It seemed so logical at the time. The error codes pointed to a likely answer: reformat the hard drive. The technician gave no other option, so I followed his instructions. With two simple keystrokes, gone were my programs, files, pictures, music, emails, everything. The slate was wiped clean.

But even after this drastic action, a blue screen error appeared. There was still a problem.

“Oh, the memory card must be bad. You need to remove it,” said the technician.

“Uh…don’t you think we should have done that FIRST?!” I gasped as I struggled for air.

I know a computer isn’t a person, but it feels like I lost a friend. Worst of all, it might not have been necessary. I feel like I consulted a landscaper for a weed problem and he bulldozed my yard. Sure, it gets rid of the weeds, but its kind of overkill.

Or maybe I want to blame someone for something that just happens sometimes.

Life is like this sometimes. Out of the vibrant blues of our lives we get an error message that stops us in our tracks. And whether we’re ready for it our not, our slates get wiped clean. Life happens even if we’re not ready for it.

But in all the shades of colors and hues of blues, God’s right there with us. He’s in the blue hair of our aging mothers and rebellious teenagers. He in our problems that come out of the blue...or fade into the blue. He’s hears us when we sing the blues or talk 'til we’re blue in the face. And he’s present when life is nothing but blue skies…or blue screens.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” James 5:13


Cheryl Barker said...

Oh Kelli, so sorry to hear of all the computer hassles you've been having. I can't imagine losing everything the way you did. Sure hope you had some of it backed up.

I loved all your blue references in the last paragraph -- a perfect way to end your post. I also liked your reference to "Maybe I Kan" :)

Runner Mom said...

Bless your heart!

Love ya! Susan