June 2014 archive

A luddite on the rampage

Last Tuesday my computer seized up
and died.  The young man at our local computer
shop, Streetwise, was confident he’d be able to fix it, just a soft wear problem
he said, but as the days passed the story developed first from a soft wear problem
to one of irretrievable decay. 
We bought a new computer and the
Streetwise fellow offered – for a price – to install my old data, which we had
saved onto a backup disk, as all sensible people do.  The Streetwise chap had hoped to be able to save
it from the original damaged hard drive but no such luck. 
Then the back up drive only coughed
up data to 2011, the rest is not there. 
A problem with the way the back up disk was connected to our computer
via Time Zone or some such guff.  And so
we needed to take the damaged hard drive to a fellow in St Kilda Road who
retrieves lost data, again for a price.
He’s confident, this second fellow
tells me, that he can retrieve my data. 
For $440.00 economy, it will take approximately ten days; for $900 priority, he’ll need four to five days, or for emergency, he can retrieve it all in
one to two days for $1200.00.  Despite my
desire to have my data back now, right now, I opted for economy.  I can wait.
But to wait, when it feels as though
half of my life is on ice.  I exaggerate,
but this business of losing my data has unhinged me.
Strange dreams in which I move
house with two of my children as youngsters and the place, filled with many
rooms – a mansion of a place – is chaotic. 
No matter how hard I try to tidy, the kids drag toys out from everywhere
and I cannot get my house into order. 
A new computer is one thing, a fun
thing you might say, but for me it’s cruel the time it has taken to get my new
computer running and all of this dependency on the genius of my children, who
are au fait with the lingo and all things computers, is debilitating. 
I bought an IMAC but did not
realise I needed Microsoft office until I made another visit to Streetwise.  Until then almost nothing would run, and then another visit later, this time to
Office Works because Streetwise had closed by then, to get a new separate disc drive
because the newest computers are slim and lighter to carry than their
predecessors and in line with the view that one day soon DVDs will disappear altogether
as Videos did before them, the new computers no longer have the capacity to
insert discs.
I sound like a luddite or an ancient
person who cannot bear change. 
I had resisted up grading my computer
for this reason.  My computer was eight years old,
they tell me, a good long life for a hard drive. 
It seems computers do not live as
long as pets. Hard drives are destined to fail sooner or later, they tell me.  Human error and the limitations of all things mechanical. 
Inbuilt redundancy, I reckon.  It enrages me and adds
to the stockpile of junk, unless we can recycle.    And all this new stuff to
learn again. 

But then I tell myself, it’s
character building, the re-learning that is, not the accumulation of junk. 

Other people’s words

At the moment I am sitting in
Eleanor Dark’s studio with a rug over my knees and a heater close by, two
heaters in fact.  It’s cold in the
Blue Mountains, colder than I had imagined, but at least today the sun is
shining and the world outside – despite the dew on the grass and the bare tress
in the garden dripping with left over rain – looks almost spring like and
therefore warmer, warmer at least than yesterday when the day was over cast
from morning right through to night and there was a steady misting rain. 

I went out for only one walk into
town yesterday and did not enjoy it, not as I have enjoyed my walks through Katoomba in
the past.  But it goes in cycles.  Exhilaration to misery in as little as
five minutes.  The pressure to do
nothing but write and read and think about writing is a luxury but it’s also a
burden and for some reason I feel it more acutely this time.
I’m stuck in a well of the
familiar and I cannot get out of it.
 
In this studio, once the writing
place of Eleanor Dark, there is a series of drawers in which other writers who
have used this room have left snippets of their writing drafts, a page or two,
no more. And perched on top are two tall chests with flower embossed fronts in
which someone has placed a slip of paper with the words:
 ‘Courage is the first essential.’ 
In the next cupboard alongside but separated by mouldy dictionaries and grammar
books, this same person, I presume, has penned the words:
‘And coffee second.’
In another of the drawers below
where there are countless screeds from countless writers I found one piece that
has taken my fancy.  It’s from
an Australian poet named Jude Aquilina and it reads like this:
First
Penis Transplant
A cutting from The Herald, 2107
Today,
the first penis
transplant
was successfully
performed
on a woman in her
twenties.  I’ve always wanted
one, stated the Sydney
housewife,
to prove that
women
can wear penises too
. I
don’t
intend to flash it nor
thrash
it, just use it for its
natural
purposes and I hope it
comes
in handy around the
house.  I want to invent
practical
attachments such as
dusters
and dish mops.  How
many
mothers have wished
for
an extra hand? – crossing
the
street with a child each
side,
I’ll hang my handbag on
nature’s
hook.  And when I
 go dancing on summer nights,
I’ll
wear bangles that jangle
 from side to side. I really
think
they’re going to catch
on,
Women have been without
them
far too long.  Surgeons
say
their lists are full of
women
waiting to fulfil their
masculinity;
the problem at
the
moment, unfortunately,
lies
in the lack of donors.

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