I am under attack by the “Windows blue screen of death”. I blame it on my mother. She’s been making sure I behave myself ever since she died ten years ago. I think she doesn’t want me to sit at my laptop too long and is using some sort of divine help to stop me. She thinks I should be getting on with my jobs, or walking my dogs. She’s had far more influence on my life since she died than she ever had when she was alive. In those days I would just smile condescendingly at her and say “Yes, Mother, okay Mother,” and carry on doing whatever I was doing that she disapproved of.
Now it’s different though. My conscience seems to have taken over where my mother left off, and I find myself reprimanding me for not doing what I should be doing. I’ve recently retired after a lifetime of dedication to my work, and was looking forward to all the interesting things I would do in my retirement. Never having been one to spend much time doing domestic chores after work during the week, and saving them all for a Saturday housework blitz, it seemed silly to change the habits of a lifetime now I was retired. I never really understood before how one could, in retirement, manage to while away nine hours a day that were previously spent in a working environment. My friends all seemed happy enough after their retirement, so why shouldn’t I be?
I joined lots of clubs, got myself a bus pass, vowed to walk my aging dogs until their legs became six inches shorter, bought umpteen cans of paint ready to makeover my dilapidated house, and sowed lots of packets of seeds to propagate ready to plant in my overgrown garden. Then I invested in a laptop and got myself connected to the internet. The wonders of facebook, google maps, Wikipedia, on-line scrabble, and various free dating sites soon took over my life.
I made excuses not to join my friends at social events, saying I was busy. My arthritic dogs just couldn’t cope with any more walking. My cans of paint still haven’t been opened, and my seedlings grew too straggly in their seed trays because they never got planted out. But me and my laptop could not be parted. I sat at my laptop with my early morning coffee and bowl of porridge, followed by another cup of coffee with a mid-morning bun. Shock, horror, the mid-day news came on my radio, with the realisation that I was still sitting in my pyjamas and dressing gown. But I was happy. I had loads of virtual friends to chat to and play games with. I had knowledge at my finger tips, and I was not going down the road of having to watch day-time TV to keep the boredom away. That was a year ago. That was before the blue screen of death first attacked my computer screen – just after the manufacturer’s guarantee expired.
Blue Screen’s timing is impeccable. He has got it down to a fine art. Just as I am getting a really high score with a great seven letter word in scrabble, in a game that you forfeit if you don’t place your word within two minutes…………….zap! How long does it take to get the wretched laptop going again? At least five minutes, on a good day, and yes………..I’ve forfeited the game by the time I get it up and running again. Ah well – I suppose I had better go and get myself showered and dressed before I start another game, after all, it’s nearly lunchtime.
Half an hour later, all scrubbed and in my clothes, I sit back at my laptop with my bowl of soup and a roll for lunch. Ah, Jim’s on line. We “chat” for a while, then he challenges me to a quick game of scrabble. We are usually pretty evenly matched, but this game I am on a winning roll and I have the word “quartz” ready to place on a triple word score just as…………zap! Yes – Blue Screen has attacked again. Curiously, he never stays around long enough for me to read what he says. I wonder if anyone ever has read it?
To amuse myself whilst watching my laptop going through the motions of repairing itself, I have started writing poems and short stories. I have a bought a note pad and keep it by my laptop ready to write in joined up writing with a ballpoint pen. Today I have a good one to write – so appropriate. It is entitled “Windows Blue Screen of Death”. I have been writing it for about four hours now. Each time I get my laptop going again to try and type it, I manage to get another couple of sentences typed and …………zap! Here he comes again – Blue Screen……………..oh I give up!
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The blue screen of death has zapped me again, right in mid-sentence; probably right in the middle of my most inspired piece of prose ever. It has no manners at all. It gives me no warning; there’s no time for me to save what I was writing. Just zap! That’s it. How many times a day does this happen? I don’t know, I’ve lost track. Swearing at Bluescreen doesn’t help. It just ignores me. It doesn’t even hang around long enough for me to read what it says. No manners.
I suppose I ought to replace my ancient laptop and save myself all the frustration of watching it try to reboot, then repair itself. By the time it gets going again, I’ve lost the thread anyway. I can’t remember what I wrote after the last time I saved the file, whenever that might have been. Somehow, I seem to remember coming up with some wonderful words of inspiration before Bluescreen interrupted, but they simply escape me now I’m back on the case.
If only I could bring myself to dip into my hard earned savings that were to last me through my retirement. But they are for a rainy day. One never knows what is around the corner, does one? Tomorrow my car might need a major repair, or my boiler might pack up. Can I really afford to indulge myself buying a new laptop while there is still some life left in the old one? I think not.
I have to take the view that things happen for a reason. I tend to spend most of my entire day sitting at my laptop. While it is working, that is. Maybe someone upstairs thinks I should be doing other things, like walking my dogs, tending my garden or sorting my house. Who knows? To give my laptop the benefit of the doubt, I choose to believe this theory, and usually go and get on with something else rather than watch the persistent blue line travelling continuously across my screen while it says “Attempting repairs….” With luck, by the time I’ve finished the job, my laptop will be up and running again and I can …………………………………..
Here I am again, ready to roll back into this article which I was writing before I was so rudely interrupted by Bluescreen yet again. Now where was I?