Held Hostage


It finally happened. I flipped the switch on my computer, it launched, and I waited for the familiar prompt that would lead me to its inner workings and absolutely everything I need to manage my day. Rather than sitting and waiting, I decided to busy myself and made up my bed, started breakfast, and then came back to check E-mail.

There it was…the BLACK SCREEN! If it had been a person, then I would have screamed erratically calmly asked, “what are you doing?” The only thing is I’ve learned over the years that no matter how many times you yell at a computer, beat the monitor, or slam doors on the hard drive, they just don’t respond. They may even laugh at you in their little computer way.

After having a seat, I noticed a flashing prompt and immediate relief came over me. I hit the “enter” key which did absolutely nothing. I hit the “w” key, the “t” key, the “x,” for no particular reason other than they were just any key as in “hit any key.” My impatience grew and then I remembered the all fix keyboard combination; ctrl + alt + delete. Surely that had to work. Noooooooooooo!

Shut down. Kept out. My life’s work HELD HOSTAGE by a beast that I thought was my friend. Full blown panic set in as I realized all of my pictures (no, not the pictures) that tracked the progress of my life, all of the references to online resources, my daily calendar, my homeschool lessons, the children’s records, my blog posts, my cooking pictures for blog posts…everything was trapped inside of that little silver and black box and I could hear, among other voices inside my head, my computer just laughing at me.

Life gets really difficult when your computer doesn’t work. I’m not sure what I did before I started using a computer. Oh yeah, I used a typewriter. That wasn’t going to work here. I spend a lot of time on my computer. Some may say a little too much, but that is just the way it is. I look at my computer not as a an addiction habit, but rather as a resource. It helps me get things done and allows me to become smarter.

Well, I surrendered to reality, shut my computer off, and tried to put this disastrous episode out of my head. I hadn’t a clue as to what to do other than pray. After all, I had a full day ahead of me and life had to go on.

I hit the kitchen, pulled out some pots and pans and started cooking. Before the day was over, I had whipped up all of our meals for the coming week which included Black Bean Soup, Minestrone and Pesto Soup, Tofu Lasagna Rolls, Spinach and Chick-Pea Soup, and Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili. I washed clothes, did some ironing, cleaned up part of the office/school room, and started planning, the best I could, our upcoming school week. Time away from the computer was proving to be a very productive day.

The next day, for all of my hard work and no apparent reason, my “best friend” decided to come on again. No explanation was given. No words were shared other than my repeated “thank you” every few minutes as it continued to launch in its normal manner. Every moment that brought me closer to access to everything that makes me who I am made me a bit more delirious with excitement.

Unless you’re a computer doctor, then the reasons why something like this happens are really unknown. It could be that I often leave my computer on overnight for several nights in a row in a state of hibernation. It could be that I use my computer everyday. It could be that it is almost ten years old. It could be oh so many other things, but who cares right now? It is on and it is working and that is all that matters.

Has your life ever been “altered” by the bizarre behavior of your computer?

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6 Responses to “Held Hostage”

  • Your computer is almost 10 years old? Wow. What a good computer. I live in fear that my computer will drop dead one day, which is why I back up the contents of the hard drive every month to our external hard drive. Now if my computer up and dies, I’ll cry, but not quite as hard as if I lost everything.


    I’m ashamed to say, when it comes to proper “save and retrieval” insurance w/my computer, I do an awful job. That is good you back up your hard drive (something I need to learn and do myself). Fortunately, my husband backed up my hard drive last month so I was somewhat safe, but I tell you when it happens, life just stops. So far, I’ve never had a computer die on me w/everything on it. I always say that won’t (can’t possibly) happen to me. Ah, yes, the famous last words.

  • Comment from Rana

    My computer is acting goofy as I’m reading your post right now. I have been on the hunt for an external hard drive myself. What you went through is one of my biggest fears. It is amazing what we can get done when we are not attached to the computer though huh?



    That is a fear for me too. I’m just so glad that nothing was lost. A few years ago, I started saving my pictures on CDs, but that grew old as I took more and more pictures. I think of anything that could be lost on my system, the pictures would most break my heart.

    Yeah! I needed a rest from my computer to get all of the other things I should have been doing done. I’ll have to do a voluntary computer shut-down soon (yeah right) to finish getting my house in order. My computer use sure can waste can take up a lot of time.

    Our computers may be in cahoots.

  • Comment from angie

    Me thinks you have a fickle friend. :)


    Me thinks you’re right.

  • Comment from Yvonne

    I{heart}my computer and would be lost without it. I have so many important files and picturs. Just the thought makes me want to go backup my computer right now. Crazy huh? On the other hand, Rana has a great point. I’m sure I would get so much more done if I actually did turn the computer off….shudder at the thought…..


    I also love my computer (except when it acts up). Do you think there is something wrong w/us? I was surprised at how much I got done that day, but I don’t want to be put in that position again just to learn my lesson.

  • Oh man…I hate it when that happens!!!

  • Comment from Adrienne

    Okay I love my computer too, blah blah blah, LOL. But my real question is…CAN YOU COME TO MY HOUSE AND LIGHT A FIRE UNDER ME SO THAT I TOO CAN COOK A WEEK’S WORTH OF MEALS AND DO LAUNDRY AND CLEAN OUR SCHOOL ROOM OVER THE COURSE OF A DAY!!!??? And yes I am screaming because, well, just because! I’m jealous….and glad that your computer is cooperating again.

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