Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back for Good

I am comfortably seated in my house at a quarter to 11pm, typing this on my laptop, and getting a very satisfactory feeling doing so. It is something I have been longing to do - having the freedom to lay out my thoughts in a relaxed mood, without needing to rush myself for any reason at all. Having to type at work is a much different proposition - coherent thoughts have to be somehow stitched together in bits and pieces during intermittent free minutes during work hours, and finished off at the close of work after the brain has undergone intense abuse and morale has been similarly assaulted. That's what this job does over time - it brutally murders artistic creativity. With my laptop back in my possession, I figure I can be more productive blog-wise. If my enthusiasm has not been fatally wounded already, that is.

I'm especially happy to be back with my laptop, after going over 6 months without it. When I had the awful accident I had on the last day of last year, it was in a bag on my back, and somehow survived with only the monitor and the motherboard crocked. Insurance grudgingly agreed to pay for a lion share of the repair cost, but the cost was not the only thing that kept me from my beloved lappie for such a long time - there was also the little fact that the motherboard that was to be acquired to replace the damaged one was unavailable in the market for a while, except perhaps I was willing to pay through my nose for it. While I wouldn't have minded much to do so, so long as I would get my laptop back quickly, I wasn't exactly confident the Insurance company shared my sentiment of urgency, going by the way they had arbitrarily slashed the very considerate figures I presented to them in an invoice. It really pissed me off when I saw what they were eventually offering to pay, and I duly protested. But the brutes refused to increase the offer, telling me they'd happily get it fixed themselves if I was willing to take that option instead. Knowing fully well that that would be like leaving your expensive phone containing irreplaceable information with an annonymous technician in Computer Village, I was of course unwilling to go down that path, and was essentially forced to accept their offer. My friend, who arranged the insurance for me, was also not happy and she tried to placate me by reminding me that I did not suffer a total loss, and that I could still as well make other claims another day, which they would be forced to attend to. She didn't particularly assuage my feeling of being raped, but I found the subsequent claims bit rather interesting, and so it should not come as a complete surprise sometime in the near future if I announce to the world that this laptop has suddenly gone missing. Strange things happen, you know.

As it turned out, the money was not exactly the ticket to the repossession of my laptop. After I got the cheque from the shylocks, I was to wait a considerable amount of time for a motherboard within the price range to pop up in the market. Just when it seemed The Apocalypse was gonna happen first, I was informed that the part had finally arrived, and that I could get my lappie within the week once I made payment. This I happily did, boasting to my colleagues in the office about The Coming of my Long-Lost Laptop. It wasn't quite so straight-forward in actual fact. When the new motherboard had been fixed, I was informed that the Operating System needed to be reinstalled as a final step after I had saved all of my relevant data. Being no technical illiterate as regards computer affairs, I assured the repairers that I was capable of handling it. I was just too glad to have my toy back in my hands again. As you might guess, I of course ended up returning it for them to do their thing. Saving my data, a routine task, turned out to be more tasking than expected. It was difficult getting an external hard disk drive with enough space to accommodate all of my data, and having to briefly borrow one, I could only use it as mule to transport my data to another system in the repairers' shop, so that I could immediately return the hard drive to the generous owner. There was just a little problem - the system I was to copy it to was a 1GB RAM system running on XP, with shaky USB ports. What this really means for an attempt to copy out 40GB+ data from an external storage device is A Slooooow Burn in Hell. After taking a while to place the drive gingerly in a particular position for the system to actually recognize it, I got going, braced for the long wait ahead. It wasn't a smooth ride. A couple of accidental shakes oof the computer table meant that I had to stop and restart more than three times, and frustration was setting in. To make matters worse, there was this joker in the room with me, another customer, who was so eager to test his just-repaired laptop and had been desperately searching for any available socket that could accommodate the two-pin plug of his power-pack; under my careless observation, I had seen him come over to the power point of the system I was copying into. After like 15 minutes of activity, I saw the system suddenly go off. Swearing under my breath, I investigated the situation to find out that my joker companion had ACTUALLY disconnected the system from where it was plugged, so that he could make use of the multi-socket plug it had been connected to, at a point convieniently close to him. I had seen him around the connection point, yes, but never imagined in my wildest dreams that he was going to do that. It's not much different from, say, a person who suddenly jumps into a lake of molten metal - if you had been observing such a person a few minutes before, staring fixedly at the lake, you certainly would not have had the urge to counsel him not to jump; you just would not imagine he'd possibly be that stupid. The same certainly applied here; everybody (or so I thought) knows that flipping a switch or disconnecting a plug naturally has a consequence - something is bound to go off or on. Thus we are careful to trace wires to see what they are connecting to before doing such. Apparently this guy had disconnected his brain from the rest of his body at the time without noticing any effects, and decided to do the same with the socket, expecting the same results. Luckily for the guy I'm not naturally a confrontational person or I might as well have wrung his neck right there and then. Eventually I somehow succeded in my mission (despite yet another interruption when someone walked into the table), after ditching a collection of movies that I could copy elsewhere. I was back two days later to retrieve the laptop, only to find out while testing it that the RAM was incomplete. This led to a tetchy phonecall by my repairers to HP (who had supplied and fitted the restored parts), in which HP insisted on their integrity, but promised to replace the RAM nevertheless, so long as I sent it back again - another delay of at least 24hrs for me before I could use it, and one I wasn't exactly enthusiastic to endure. In desperation, I begged my repairer if he could replace the RAM from his supplies in the shop, and collect the one HP was willing to give me instead. He didn't have, but decided to ask one of his repairers in the workshop if he had any, personally, to spare. Apparently, the boy had, to my joy. I could've kissed him. When I found out moments later that the RAM he gave up was exactly the same RAM that had actually been removed from my laptop, I could've hung him. But I was just glad to get my laptop back, and I let sleeping dogs lie. By the evening of that day however, my homicidal sentiments towards him had returned when I found out that he had fitted the laptop for me with a dud power-pack. The power-pack I had left with them had been perfectly fine, and this one was obviously not mine. I immediately called him up about the issue, demanding that he deliver the correct pack to my office the next morning. He promised to do so, but when I didn't see him even towards the end of the day, I was practically boiling. In the end, I had to rant and rave at his boss, and the poor man apologetically promised to personally deliver it to my house that night. He did, to my utmost relief, and I was able to start this piece in the mood I highlighted at the beginning.

However, as I have come to find out as I round it off some TWO MONTHS later, my beloved writing muse comes and goes when she wishes, regardless of how much comfort and time I have on my hands. Guess it's not all the bloody job's fault then. One thing's for sure though - I really am unrepentantly glad to be finally reunited with my lappie!

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