Monday, November 8, 2010

195. When Grief Sneaks Up And Punches You In The Face

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but The Husband and I are having to deal with something that we’ve been avoiding. A beloved and valued member of our family has become very, very ill. Annoyingly so. I’m talking about, of course, Our Computer.

We adopted Our Computer in happier times, when we lived in California. Our life was uncomplicated back then; it was all about an empty (high-capacity) memory waiting to be filled and yes, I admit it, speed-speed-speed. With just a click of a mouse, we could be on virtually any virtual site within milliseconds.

It was not to last. Nine years flies by, and the next thing you know, evil words are being whispered (words like, “replacement” or “something new” or “gotten our money’s worth”). The Husband and I finally sat down and had the much-needed conversation about Our Computer, and it became painfully obvious that we were in different stages of the grieving process. While The Husband oscillated back and forth from the Anger Stage (“I hate Our Computer! I want to toss it out the window!”) to the Depression Stage (“I’m sad. I used to type a simple email and send it in less than seven hours,”), I was clearly stuck in a different stage: Bargaining. I found myself patting Our Computer on its cute little monitor (just like in the old days) and saying, “If you can just find it in your heart to let me finish typing this one short blog, I promise to clean the dust out of your keyboard more often!”

I often blamed myself for ignoring the warning signs of what The Husband and I eventually dubbed Our Computer’s version of Alzheimer’s: Computzheimer’s. We didn’t give much notice when Our Computer would not do simple commands (commands like “Turn On”). We became increasingly alarmed when Our Computer would forget bigger things (things like, “How To Save A Crucial Work Document”or "All Your Tax Records From 2002--Now").

In a valiant effort to save Our Computer, The Husband recommended drastic measures like erasing extraneous data that was apparently clogging the memory tubes of our precious dinosaur. We got to work. First, timidly, we deleted a couple files of blurry photos that we knew we also had on back-up discs. Next, we got rid of four thousand (give or take) emails that we had saved but knew we could most likely live without. Pretty soon, we were on a roll with our purging, and we got Our Computer back down to its binary roots, saving only basic email capacity and Google.

It was still not enough to breathe life back into Our Computer. Strangely, I reverted back to the Denial Stage (“this can’t be happening! anything but this!”), while The Husband pole-vaulted ahead to the Acceptance Stage (“Hon, should we maybe get a Mac this time? did you want a laptop?”). How could he so easily discard Out Computer without so much as a quick trip down (RDRAM 4-magabyte) memory lane? Had all those times ordering new shirts (not available in stores: size XL Tall) through L.L. Bean online meant nothing? How about my (former) eBay addiction? Playing computer solitaire when insomnia strikes at 3 AM? And who can forget the many MANY emails from CBS Fantasy Football Reports?

I feel like somewhat of a traitor as I type this, because I am (yes, still) typing this (through tears, though) on Our Computer. If you are able to read this blog, we are temporarily triumphing over Computzheimer’s for one more day, patiently awaiting The Husband’s Christmas bonus so we can give Our Computer a proper funeral.

(“Missing Our Vanguard”)

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