While working on this week’s issue of The Uniter, I ran into a problem that stopped me in my tracks. I arrived home from the office, opened up my laptop to continue my work, only to find that my PC wasn’t working. Unable to log in and access my files, panic set in.
After a couple hours in a customerservice chat with a Microsoft rep, the diagnosis was clear: my most recent Windows update file was corrupted, and I would have to perform a factory reset on my laptop.
Anyone who’s been in this position knows how unmooring it can be to lose your entire computer setup in an instant. Fortunately, I have some limited automatic file backup. Some things, like my text documents and images, can eventually be recovered. Larger and more time-consuming projects, like music files, demo recordings and the like, are gone for good.
During the isolation of the early years of COVID, the line between “real life” and the digital world became even more blurred. When the borders of my world shrank to my apartment and the odd masked-up trip to Safeway, my laptop became my window to the rest of humanity. I watched news from the rest of the world through that window. Even though it’s just “stuff,” there is a small grief in seeing it broken.
As I begin what will be a weeks-long process of recovering, reinstalling and rebuilding what I can, I’m pouring one out for the music and creative projects that helped me pass the time during the pandemic, now lost in the digital wind.
Published in Volume 77, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 16, 2023)