My Computer Caught the Flu
By Anne Hawkinson
It’s flu season, right? I haven’t had the flu in years (knock on wood), but a cruel, icky virus reared its ugly head and rendered my computer out of commission. Unable to function, down for the count. One day I’m working merrily along, making good strides on my story. The next, I’m dead in the water – files can’t be opened, cryptic messages stream across the monitor, and the twirly, time thing spins aimlessly in its contaminated, cryptic orbit.
Sure, I had virus protection. I’m pretty sure I clicked on “auto-renew” when I subscribed. I was able to run scans, received periodic messages that told me my computer was safe, and the firewall had not been breached. Sounds good, right? Apparently not. According to the virus protection people, the last protection update that was in place on my computer was in 2011.
They said they’d wipe my computer clean – for a hefty fee. With sweaty palms and pounding heart, I said thanks, but no thanks. I panicked and called my daughter.
She’s a computer miracle worker and has the patience of a saint. I sent her an invite to remote in and watched her navigate to places I didn’t know even existed on my computer. What I thought would take an hour or two stretched into seven. The jury is still out regarding my computer, despite her heroic and unbelievably capable efforts. After the third attempt at a new operating system install, we decided enough was enough. I pulled out my laptop and she ensured it was fully operational before hanging up. Oh, and yes, we upgraded my virus protection subscription and this time I know I set it for auto-renew.
In this electronic, paperless world, the most recent, hard copy draft of my story saved my sanity and countless hours invested in the telling of my tale. I’ve never been so happy to see that pile of paper under my desk! I have the working draft saved in an email, on a flash drive, and I’ll print out a hard copy, just in case.
So, what’s the diagnosis of my PC? I don’t know. It’s sitting on my desk, looking creepy, like HAL 9000 in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” No red light looking at me, but I think it saw the email my daughter sent about the possibility of buying a new computer. I’m going to leave it turned off until I take it to the diagnostic guys after the holidays. They can deal with whatever is in there.