Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – August 10, 2004
The Dreaded Telephone Call
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – August 10, 2004 – It’s back to work for me this morning after a two week break, which incidentally wasn’t nearly long enough. My pager has been turned on and the phone calls started at nine o’clock sharp. “How was your holiday Roe? – now I have this problem I’d like you to handle for me.” “Can you book an appointment for tomorrow at noon – no eleven isn’t convenient for me, if you could just re-arrange your schedule it would be great”.
By nine-thirty I felt as if I’d been back on the job for a week. Then the call I’d been dreading – Ben with a report on my mal-functioning computer. He said, “I have good news and bad news”. To which I replied – “Bad news is not acceptable”. He replied, “The good news is your computer doesn’t have a virus – the bad news is that the hard drive has crashed”.
“Whhhhat”, I screamed, “I just bought the computer seven months ago – it’s new. Okay – be calm”, I said. “At least the back-up system has stored all my data”. Ben paused a moment and said, “The really bad news is that the back up (which was supposed to happen automatically every Sunday night at midnight) hasn’t done so, for some unknown reason, since January 27, 2004”.
My first thought was of my daily writing – I felt nauseous. I have hard copies of January through June, but July and the first week of August are gone. I wanted to reach through the telephone line and kill Ben – slowly, painfully and mercilessly. We had this problem with my old computer and I lost an entire year of my Palm Pilot data – gone, kaput, blank screen, never to be seen again.
I paid for a back-up system and Ben knew how important it was to me. He had a responsibility to make sure that my new system was fully functioning. I was furious. No that is too mild a word. For the second time this summer thoughts of terrorism and bombs entered my mind. Not a suicide mission, but a homicide mission – a hit man. Perhaps that’s because I saw Tom Cruise’s new movie Collateral yesterday, in which he plays an assassin.
I can be direct, but I’m usually not discourteous. This morning I was down-right dreadful. I uttered a few well chosen four letter words and then said, “There is no acceptable solution to this situation, other than my computer coming back to me fully functional with all my data restored – so you need to make it happen.”
I am still sick at heart. If the entire month of July is gone, I’ll never be able to re-write those stories. Other than Canada Day, I don’t even know what the topics were. I had just finished editing July’s entries on Sunday evening, and I thought about printing the month out on paper to put into my writing folder, but I thought “no”, I’ll do it next week when I’m actually back at work. After all, I’m supposed to be on holidays – what am I doing sitting in my office working at my computer?
Why didn’t I listen to my intuition? I could kick myself. Worse still I could maim Ben. My computer has been taken to a data recovery lab to see if the crashed hard drive will cough up its contents. All those precious little ones and zeroes that make up my data files. I could re-create my marketing information if I had to. It would be labour intensive, but I have hard copies of all the documents in various and sundry places. But my writing!
I was thinking about this all day as I went about my work with clients. If July’s stories are gone, it would give me a perfect excuse to stop this daily tapping away at the keyboard. It obviously wasn’t meant to be. I can’t let that happen. There is a possibility that the data can be recovered. I’m jumping the gun here with thoughts of doom and gloom … but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking – “gone”.
To make sure that I don’t stop writing, I’m sitting at my old computer working on my entry for today. If I had to re-write July and the first week of August, I’m sure I could come up with some terrific stories. They would never be the same because they’d be lacking the immediacy of the actual day – the entries would simply be different. T
he point is – I can’t let this little obstacle stop me. I may get good news tomorrow – I may not. But regardless of the outcome, I need to move forward, get my computer back up and running so I can work, look after my clients and create my newsletters and marketing materials. This is a calamity – but I will survive. I’m not so sure about “The computer guru formerly known as Ben”.