Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dappled Sunlight, 6/28/2007

The story:

It was four months into my layoff and I was getting desperate. Precious few jobs were to be found anywhere in Northeastern Pennsylvania. To make matters worse, the weather was swelteringly hot. The weather had played hell with my ancient (seven year old) PC and combined with numerous other factors - including, most likely, a vast array of viruses that had made it though my nearly-as-ancient (but dutifully updated) antivirus software - to fatally crash the system one time too many. A friend offered to assemble a new system for me, cobbled together out of parts he had acquired here and there. We transferred the data from my old hard drive to the new one, gave it a few test-boots, and I was back in business.

For a little while.

I don't know if it was the heat, or a Firefox bug, or just me, but I managed to break the new set-up very quickly.

So back I went on the nearly seventy mile journey to my friend's house. It was eventful, to say the least: a titanic electrical storm swept through the region that afternoon, knocking out power to the house, and for a while it looked like I would be going home empty-handed. The first re-install failed in exactly the same way as the initial install. I think we tried it a second time and were able to make it fail again. The third time we made some modifications, stripped out a few things, and it came up and stayed up.*

By then it was about 3:00 in the morning. I didn't have anywhere special to be the next day, but my friend needed to get up for work in just a few hours. I spent the rest of the night at their house and got up after my friend had left. I packed my newly-repaired computer into my car and left the house as my friend's wife and their child were heading out for the day.

We stepped outside to cool, moist air, a far cry from the hot and humid air before the previous evening's thunderstorms. The rain had soaked the ground, and dew had formed on every needle of every branch of the hemlock forest that surrounds their house. A mist hung in the air, and the risen sun broke up in the branches and fell as visible beams onto the forest floor. I raised my ever-present camera and took three pictures.

Thanking my friend's wife for their aid and hospitality, I saddled up my car for the journey home.

*For a while. I managed to crash it again several months later. But by then I had a job, and decided not to bother my friend again, feeling too much like Odysseus returning to Aeolus to ask for the same favor one time too many. I bit the bullet and paid to have the contents of the hard drive salvaged and the necessary programs re-installed, including a souped-up anti-virus program. Aside from a power supply failure a year or so later, it's been pretty stable since then.

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