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Not your classic Christmas story...

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Not your classic Christmas story...

 

I listen intently as humming and whirring downgrade to a straining echo grinding out from the rattling walls of my computer – the signature sounds of mechanical failure. Then, ghosty fingers typing in ghoulish block letters across my computer screen

 

Your PC did not start correctly

Resetting your PC

 

These last words flashing weakly across my monitor before it loses its battery-powered metallic-luster, and is operational – NO MORE.

 

Trying to remain calm, but with a numbing dread, I anticipate the worst case scenario. I am a writer, and this machine is an extension of who I am. The hard drive of this computer holds my soul-searching poetry, and collection of fictional stories with happy endings, that I have scripted for the Hallmark movie channel.

 

Breathe, I tell myself.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Concentrate.

 

Now teary-eyed and feeling like Mrs. Claus without her oven mitt, or Santa without his sleigh bells, I slump despairingly at my desk. In two days it will be Christmas, and I am without a computer. Bah. Humbug. A terrible time to be computer shopping, with the long lines of short-tempered shoppers and the holiday crush of enormously bulked-up shopping carts at the big box stores; not to mention the bee hive of activity at the smaller shops.

 

Within the hour, I am experiencing symptoms of electronic withdrawal.

 

This isn't my first computer crash. Sadly, a year and a half ago, my computer had been hacked. Fortunately, it was my original heartfelt poetry which filled the brains of the computer. Not all bad, I thought, finally, someone (the hackers) would be reading my poems.

 

I then flashed back to January 2016, and the Best Buy fiasco when my computer was treated like lost luggage by the airline. After bringing my computer in for diagnostic testing, it had been misplaced, then found somewhere in a back room with other mislaid hardware, then labeled “data irretrievable” then lost again with no apparent identification attached to it, and finally (sadly) recycled. I didn't have a chance to bid the computer a solemn farewell, Thank you for the crazy late night writing sessions you purred through, and the myriad of words I forced you to Spell Check”. Rest in peace, my shiny silver intergalactic friend.

 

It was during this struggle with Best Buy, a year and a half ago, that I stumbled into Computer Revolution, an independently owned, kitschy strip mall computer boutique. Following a convincing sales pitch presented by Mike, a store associate, I made a mental note to stop in next time my computer took a nose dive.

 

So this time, I pack my inoperable computer into the backseat, hop in my car, and head to Computer Revolution in Roseville, MN passing Best Buy along the way.

 

Conventional wisdom says that “life is a series of decisive Moments”. Had I entered Computer Revolution a year and a half ago on a whim, or was it my discerning eye, following the blue aura of lighted intelligence bouncing reflectively off keyboards and monitors, shining through the glass store front and the partially opened front door? Not sure why -- it just felt right.

 

I enter the smallish shop, which is well-staffed with a half dozen male employees in white shirts. A motivated young man approaches me and listens patiently as I unravel my tale of woe. The more he listens, the more detailed my story becomes. The young man interrupts me, handing me his business card, Justin, IT Consultant, the card states. During our conversation, Justin tells me he is an Engineering student at the U of MN, and as we speak, I become increasingly convinced that my computer issues will be resolved.

 

A diagnostic is run on my computer and I am told what I already suspect – the hard drive is dead.

 

Looking around the shop for a replacement, my eye falls upon a business grade Lenovo (IBM) ThinkCentre M800z; a 19 ½ inch all-in-one desktop computer. Plus a wide screen monitor with antiglare technology. Solidly built with a strong design, I notice the attached fullsize black keyboard with a rubberized bottom that can hold its own without sliding off the surface of my desk as I furiously pound out my fictional stories. The keys of the board are raised for typing accuracy, and bouncy to the touch.

 

I'll take it!” I exclaim.

 

Michael W., the Technician/Consultant, and Justin B., the IT Consultant, ring up my sale and begin working side-by-side. First, drawing the heavy monitor and keyboard from the sturdy factory direct carton, then removing the clamped on styrofoam cushions.

 

This is so much fun,” Michael W., the Technician says, shaking loose the bubble wrap from the keyboard, “opening a factory direct box with that new computer smell – is just great.”

 

Micheal and Justin converse happily in their foreign language of codes and references to software applications. It is an interesting mix of human-Vulcan. Scripted straight from an episode of Star Trek. Feeling as though I had stepped onto the Starship Enterprise and entered a dimension of other-worldly intelligence.

 

Then Michael, the Technician, directs his attention to me. “Passwords? Applications? What do you need installed on your computer?” He asks.

 

I had been listening and absorbing the human-Vulcan dialogue like a toddler learning to speak, awkwardly gaining confidence. I replied hesitatingly at first, but by the time I am ready to load the new computer into the backseat of my car, I am feeling confident, with a strong mix of human-vulcan giddiness.

 

My new computer is less than 4 days old, and I have been joyously typing away, enjoying the benefits of an upgrade, along with the new computer smell, and a picture of Christmas Carol author, Charles Dickens propped beside me.

 

The Ad Block application that Michael, the Computer Revolution Technician installed on my Lenovo (IBM) ThinkCentre M800z is one the best features. No more distracting pop-up advertisements flashing seizure-like messages and invading the reading space on my monitor.

 

So many improvements with my new computer, I must admit it was a mixed blessing that the old computer hit the recycling bin with a running start.

 

Heartfelt thanks to the folks at Computer Revolution in Roseville, MN.

 

Now how's that for a happy Christmas tale ending Mr. Dickens?

Enchanted Traveler
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