In the Loop

Losing your life to a com-poo-ter

Posted at 12:20 PM on August 4, 2008 by Jeff Horwich

I'm going to go on a techie rant for a moment.

I'm one of those people who suspends all rational thought in the midst of a computer problem. All else in my life falls away -- family, pets, social life, reading material -- in the face of complete focus on whatever error message has blinked up to ruin my day.

This weekend, it was a pawn shop computer I'm trying to fix up for my sister-in-law. This thing was an amazing find -- a 2006 Compaq laptop, pretty well tricked out, and barely touched, for $299. A few new RAM sticks, and it'll be golden.

But at some point in cleaning up after the old user, two very important XP startup files got misplaced or something. And of course, the pawn shop didn't happen to pass along the original recovery CDs. So I'm trying everything I can think of to get this thing to boot and transfer the files (borrowed from my livingroom PC) into the root directory.

Anyhoo, no one gives a rat's patootie about the specifics. But I amazed myself yet again with my ability to become so ridiculously emotionally and physically committed to getting out of a computer jam. It ate up most of my Sunday: sweating, pacing, swearing, pounding the coffee table.

What have I become? Granted, these things need to be fixed -- if I walked away from every technical mess I created, I'd be living in a cave by now. But how is it that technology makes some of us such basket cases (and, more amazingly to me, that others aren't fazed)?

Got any tips for soothing computer-related stress?

August 2008
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