I can’t believe I am actually doing this. I am writing this post by hand*. I’ve broken out the old Parker fountain pen (which hasn’t seen any action in months) and my writing is barely legible from lack of practice. How weird to have to use these neglected hand muscles, and not see perfectly uniform letters appear instantaneously upon a screen.
Why am I subjecting myself to this? Because I don’t have a computer. My trusty Macbook Pro, which has been with me since 2008, finally croaked. It must have died in its sleep because yesterday evening it was fine but this morning would not even turn itself on.
It’s a terrible thing, being suddenly without laptop. I think I went into shock. While my rational mind was not at all worried (I had no urgent assignments or exam revision stored on it; I could buy a new one), my body was reacting completely differently. I felt oddly numb and shaky, and couldn’t seem to wipe the involuntary frown off my forehead. I rode the metro to uni in a daze, my glazed eyes for once blind to the stunning mountain views through the window, Nicki Minaj’s Superbass for some reason stuck inconveniently on replay in my head. I was dazed and confused.
Amazing, how utterly lost one feels without one’s ordi. It’s like missing a limb; you can survive without it but my god is it disorientating. I dropped my baby off at the uni IT help centre for them to try to recover data and only later did it hit me like a ton of bricks what I had just left behind. Plus I know I’m not unique in this respect. Many a peer has been left floundering and helpless at the passing of a loyal laptop. I defy you, youth who be reading this, not to feel the same if it happened to you. Especially if you, like me, have backed up nothing. This is what has become of our generation; we are utter bitches to our computers.
Luckily, nothing ever feels so bad in Switzerland; everything and everyone is calm and collected. The IT helper was quite placid when he told me he suspected the problem lay in the motherboard; the people in the Apple shop totally serene when they informed me that a repair would cost 1000 francs. I in turn smiled and nodded sedately before exiting to silently freak out. But the moutains didn’t suddenly collapse, nor did the lake rise up and swallow the town, nor did the surrounding Swiss students rush me with their lit cigarettes. No, when surrounded by such tranquility, one learns to take a deep breath of clean(ish) air and remain stoic.
So what have I learnt from this awful experience? That the twenty-first century knight in shining armour comes equipped not with steed and sword but rather an external hard drive and spare laptop, as my neighbour helpfully provided (even if it means I must use this accursed French keyboard). That I’m surprisingly zen at the possibility of losing all my files and photos (a clear-out was probably due anyway, plus there are loads of photos on Facebook) – and at the prospect of some computer technician at uni having full and free access to all of them. That an evening spent with friends in my technology-free kitchen is unaffected and no less enjoyable than usual without my laptop. That I should really back shit up.
*Obviously I typed this up later, slowly and painstakingly with the mind-boggling French AZERTY keyboard.