This was going to be a very different post.
It was going to be about how yesterday started off like a regular Sunday. I played kickball–oh wait, actually, I played really well offensively, so not quite like a regular day. Well, it ended like a regular Sunday, with me, alone, polishing off around 15 mini brownies because otherwise they would get stale soon and we couldn’t have that, could we?
It was going to be about how, after I got into bed and wasted valuable sleep time confirming people on online dating sites are incapable of responding to my messages, I set my computer down next to my bed, and it wobbled a bit as it hit the floor. I thought practically nothing of it, other than to whisper an apology to the downstairs neighbor who probably didn’t even hear the noise but I’m paranoid like that.
It was going to be about how when I woke up today I discovered my computer didn’t recognize the hard drive, which meant, I found after a quick search on my phone and a test of the computer, the hard drive was most likely damaged to the point that it could cost up to $1000 to retrieve the data on it, if it was even possible. I let out a few tears after that realization because of course. Then I went to work and brought my computer so I could take it somewhere afterward–I didn’t know where, just somewhere that could confirm or deny the rumor that 12 years of music, photos, and in-progress writing projects ceased to exist forever.
It was going to be about how I’ve luckily never experienced the death of someone very close to me, but I always assumed, based on the sharp mental and physical pain I go through after breakups, the intense barrage of tears and powerful heaving lungs, that I grieve very obviously and automatically. Instead, trying to adjust to the fact that all of these precious documents were gone, I didn’t feel the familiar panicked knot of loss twisting in my chest. I heard a rather calm-sounding voice telling me that this is the new reality I’m going to have to live in now, one that doesn’t contain this body of work that made up my past life.
It was going to be about how at first I wondered if the reason I wasn’t sobbing and drowning in puddles of anguish was because I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that such a small ripple in the universe–a tiny wobble–could cause such a giant topple. It happens all the time though, doesn’t it? Something small affects so much, and while you can try to search for the one big flag waving to warn you, sometimes it’s just one fragile breath of wind that does it.
It was going to be about how all day long I kept returning to the notion of not having access to any of my previous or current writing ever again, and being convinced I was now a different person. While my Word documents weren’t tangible, they were still a part of me, and once they vanished, it felt like they erased a part of my soul. I expected to feel sad about that, like how I feel when a crushing disappointment momentarily paralyzes me, but I found that I wasn’t capable of devoting that kind of energy to such a particular, profound grief. So I decided to think of it as a new start. It was, instead of a creative tragedy, a fresh chance to be a different version of myself. Who was this person who didn’t save the first chapter of a novel from 2006 with a dedication page that said, “to every crazy person I ever knew and all the crazy people out there I will probably never have the privilege of knowing”? What was this person like, someone who didn’t keep a poem about a giant burger written in 2003? Where would life take this person who didn’t have a document called “ideas” from 2012 that simply read, “Other People’s Kitchens”? This new me could be anything, and truthfully, by lunchtime, I was starting to get used to the slate I had inadvertently cleared for myself. I could reinvent who I was as a writer. I could maybe force myself to actually write, now that I felt I had nothing in my stockpile. I could re-imagine myself as whatever sort of creative genius I wanted. I would no longer be confined to the spurts of feelings across a page that would never be gazed upon by eyes other than mine. This was my moment!
But it’s not about any of that. It’s about how, in a stunning display of what IT people seem to do best, the IT guy at work suggested I try removing the hard drive and putting it back in. Somehow, in all of my flustered internet searches, no one else had mentioned there was a possibility the hard drive wasn’t permanently damaged.
It’s about how although the opportunity to start from zero had begun to sound the slightest bit appealing when I thought I had no other option, as soon as the computer screen flickered on with a message that it had been shut down incorrectly, I breathed a sigh of relief so forceful it threatened to sound work-inappropriate.
It’s about second chances, and how some lost things may not be irretrievable, and how when you think you’ve hit rock bottom the only thing to do is start chipping away at the rock to carve something beautiful.
And most importantly, it’s about how I’m finally going to buy an external hard drive to back up my work.