Radio silence is assumed while we weather a storm. In the real world outside the sun is shining but inside a digital maelstrom is raging.
It starts with my phone, memory full of photographs, unable to function. Then transferring the pictures onto my computer causes complications and data is seemingly lost. I am distraught. Out of my depth technically and swimming madly around trying to save cherished memories. Calling help desks who can’t help and frantically typing in silent online ‘chats’ where no-one says a word.
The internet connection here is frustratingly slow and unable to deal with the task in hand, I have apparently 13,000 images trapped in a cloud which rains only data. So I decamp to a friend’s house who generously offers me use of their unlimited broadband and endless cups of tea as I try to sort out the problem.
My treasured photographs: holidays, weddings, kid’s birthday parties, our pets long deceased, are torn into so many million tiny bytes which flutter invisibly towards my computer. I wait anxiously for the familiar faces to arrive back in one piece. Loved ones on the journey of a lifetime. The download takes all night and when I return to my friend’s house, who has now wearily given me her door key saying ‘just make yourself at home’, it’s all I can do not to burst into tears. The exodus has failed. The giant album, which merged an old format with a new, has inexplicably split saving only half onto the computer and burying the rest deep in an external hard drive so inaccessible to me they are as good as lost.
More calls to the help desk. More silently tapped conversations and an unsettling experience where an IT expert in another country can see my computer screen like he is looking over my shoulder. We conclude the journey must be undertaken again.
Another 12 hours of data transfer. Another anxious wait. Since starting this blog my phone and computer have become a friendly interface with the wider world, a window through which I can see almost anything and others can see me. I don’t like it like this, my computer tasked on a job without me, the shutters down and the curtains closed.
I have gained so much from the online world. Rather than full of trolls and weirdos I’ve met a vibrant eclectic mix of genuine people, generous with their knowledge or interested in what I have to offer. I’ve found it inspirational, motivational and more than anything an antidote to a sometimes lonely lifestyle.
It took the best part of a week to sort out the technical problems and then another frantic week to get on top of the jobs I should have been doing when I was sorting out the IT. On the back burner till winter, when the demands of the garden and kitchen have eased a little, is the mammoth task of sorting through all those photographs and reducing them to a more manageable size. But finally now hello again, it’s nice to be back.
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