Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Computer Hell

I’ve spent the past several days at work digging out of computer hell. And, no, it has not been pretty. Frankly, I’m so disillusioned by the whole technology thing that I’m considering chucking the ol’ PC out the window and going back to paper and pen...

…except that I’ve discovered that I now totally suck at writing with actual paper and pen. When did that happen? I used to think I had fairly decent handwriting.

The clues have been there for a while, though. Like when I address the ever-diminishing numbers of greeting cards that I send through snail mail. I don’t seem to get the whole cursive thing as easily as I once did and there is invariably an error or two. I try to fix things by going over the incorrect letter with the correct letter several times leaving a big dark blob of ink, which makes the envelope smudge.

I know I can’t be the only person having trouble writing these days. I mean, when is the last time someone wrote an actual letter? It has been years for me. Decades, even!

We have received notes written in crayon from my 7-year-old niece, but they don’t count. Well, actually, they probably should – her penmanship is far superior to mine at this point.

I had to use another computer in the office while mine was out being debugged. And my work progress was completely hindered because the file that I use to compose letters was on my hard drive. And the graphics for our letterhead was also on my hard drive. And my address list was on my hard drive.

Working on someone else’s computer that doesn’t have my “stuff” on it was quite distressing. But I took a deep breath and figured that I, an actual college graduate, could get the job done despite these hardships. So I found the addresses online. Then I grabbed a couple pieces of old-fashioned letterhead from a folder I haven’t used in about five years (seriously) and wrote the letters out by hand. Egad, I swear I had writer’s cramp after about 20 words!

Plus, there were those infernal smudges because I couldn’t seem to get the letters to flow error-free.

I’m hoping the recipients will be so shocked to receive handwritten notes that they’ll overlook the smudges. Besides, I was sending ‘em free hats and T-shirts – what more could they want?

There were other lessons in frustration for me besides just the handwriting thing. Like, for instance, it took me three times as long to complete any task. I’d begin working on something, only to realize that the e-mail address I needed was in a folder in my office. So I’d walk to the other end of the building to my office, locate the information I needed, and walk back to front of the building to my temporary office. I’d get the e-mail written (thankfully using my temporary keyboard!)…and then I’d discover that the last piece of information I needed was in yet another file folder in my office.

Grrr. I should’ve worn a pedometer because I guarantee you I walked the requisite 10,000 steps the past few days.

Nevertheless, I was beginning to catch up on the work backlog. That is, until the black ink cartridge on my borrowed printer ran dry. And, no, we are not networked, so I couldn’t send files to other machines to be printed. Naturally, we didn’t have any backup ink cartridges for that particular printer in the office.

In defeat, I stumbled back to my office, plopped down into my chair, and stared blankly at the dead computer screen sitting in the center of my desk. I can’t be sure, but it sort of felt like the wireless keyboard and mouse were mocking me.

Eventually, the computer fixer lady came back to the office with my hard drive. She had been certain that my computer had a virus on it. But it didn’t. (Which ticked me off. She had my computer ALL DAY and couldn’t find anything wrong with it??)

Sounds like the story has a happy ending – right? Well, if you guessed that you would be wrong, Skippy. My computer is running way slower than it used to. For all I know, she could’ve been so mad that she was proved wrong that she infected it on purpose.

On the other hand, it’s better than nothin’. I didn’t have to write a single handwritten note today. So – for this one day, anyway – I didn’t chuck the ol’ PC out the window.

Tomorrow, however, is another day.

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