April 23rd, 2012

Rants from the Rat-Race: The Blue Screen of Death

Legend has it that if you happen to land a job at a well established mega-conglomerate style company, one of the perks is that sometimes at night, little elves visit your desk. Rarely spotted in the harsh glare of daylight, these mythical creatures are rumored to know too much about Battlestar Gallactica and too little about non-conspiracy based global politics to make much of a splash at happy hours, but the magic they possess more than makes up for the occasional social flaw.

Slinking into corporate offices under cover of night, they perform software updates, defrag hard drives, chase down viral villains and then creep out again, before even the earliest AM commuters re-arrive. No thanks necessary. Just happy to resolve the day-workers’ issues. (For a price.)

But I’m not parked at a mega-company these days. Not even close. We’re fond of pointing out the small size of our organization to outsiders and cooing about how “we’re really like a family here.” Yup. Sloppy drunk siblings, alternatingly dominating and absentee parents, and enough motorcycle and/or semi-automatic weapons enthusiast aunts and uncles to make us the very picture of the All-American family.

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Sadly, computer literacy doesn’t seem to be in our clan’s genetic make-up. And we can’t very well kick out youngest brother Eddie just so we can free up some household funds to hire ourselves some IT elves. Families just don’t do that. We’re in this together. o for the sake of the pregnant receptionist and the wistful part-time grad student and the accident prone, well… me, we all do our best to resolve our own little computer issues and keep the $75/hour elves out of it.

When my computer decided to start spazzing out on me a few weeks ago, I knew it was time for a bit of initiative. No big deal. It’d just mean a new machine and a minimum of two work days wasted doing the download-update-restart-network tango. No Problem. No. Problem. Despite the brilliance with which I perform my roles as the perky team player, I just couldn’t bring myself to submit to that most tedious of dances.

Enter, denial. Nah, my computer is fine. It just hiccupped because I left Stitcher Radio running a bit too long. It’s just exhausted from that saggy diaper of an Outlook inbox. It just needs a little love. Day after day, I’m talking my PC through its seizures, restarting after yet another freeze and pop to blue screen blip. I’m whispering encouragement, insisting that all those “fatal error” messages are greatly exaggerated. If we’re such a damn family after all, I can’t very well just dump my little brat in the digital dustbin, right? We’ll get through this, baby.

With childlike faith, I’ll continue logging off every day and praying that somehow, those fabled elves will eventually sneak my way and save my machine (and my sanity) with their techie pixie dust. Or their mystical Tengwar incantations. Or just a good sixteen hour software update session.

Laziness breeds denial. And denial, it seems, has managed to reconnect me with my youthful faith in Disneyish fairytales and undeserved happy endings.

— Kerri

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