A sorry tale of technology anxiety, as told by an idiot…

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HAVE laptop will travel – don’t have laptop will panic.

On Good Friday everything on my ledge threatened to blow away in the wind. It is not impossible that stupidity had something to do with it. Or technology anxiety. That and being a bit of an idiot.

After writing my blog on Friday, my anti-virus software stopped me from publishing. An echoing phone call to India followed and my machine was taken over remotely as someone in Delhi or wherever lifted the bonnet of the firewall. After that everything was back to normal.

Later a warning came up, and I won’t go into the details because they are boring and anyway I didn’t fully understand. But some hostile or intrusive software appeared to have wormed its way into my laptop.

More calls to India – and an offer to put everything right for £140. End of call to India. I then phoned the company who protect this laptop for a price. “You need to reinstall your computer,” they said.

Outside the sun was shining, my wife was lost in the soil, and I was getting in a fury of uselessness and anxiety. “Won’t I lose the lot – there are books on there and everything?”

“No, it will be fine – you can choose to save all your documents. Afterwards you will have to reinstall some programmes. It’s very easy and we’ll send you an email.”

So I did the necessary and my laptop shut down for ninety minutes or so while Windows reinstalled itself. I paced about, prowling up to the screen and away again, and sat in the sunshine fretting.

My plan for the day had been simple. Sit in the garden for an hour or so and then write: the first had been achieved, the second was disappearing fast.

Eventually the laptop unseized and I had a look. My documents were all still there: a ‘hoo’ and a ‘ray’ to that. Various programmes were missing, including the anti-virus bouncer – “You’re not going in there dressed like that, sunshine” – and Office.

I needed a code for both of these and tore the house apart, and drove my wife to distraction, seeking the laptop box and the receipt. Eventually I found the receipt but not the box,which contained cards with the necessary codes. Every corner of the house was taken apart, along with a few roof tiles. But no box.

Next I needed to read that email, but my two email services had disappeared. Without any visiting offspring to help, I had to find them again – and everything else that had gone missing, taking their passwords with them. This wasted another hour or two; outside the sun was still shining.

I worked out how to re-do the anti-virus package eventually, by tracking down the original email, but there was still Office to reinstall. The code on the receipt didn’t unlock Office, so I tore the house apart some more, then gave up for the day.

After an evening of muttering – “I’ve looked everywhere for that box” – my wife wondered in the morning if I’d looked under our bed. Of course I had – what sort of an idiot did she take me for? Oh, I see: that sort of an idiot, for there it was, lurking in the dust like a cat playing hide-and-seek.

Office reinstalled, I went to check my emails and my work/writing email address was now blank. The lot had gone. Another phone call, another long wait for a reply. Then I was told how to find my original email address.

You will be glad to hear that everything is back in place, apart from those things I have forgotten. And apart from a marble or two that rolled away with a clunk. I am back at my laptop and the world is humming on its axis again. Or something like that.

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