Just before the close of business Friday (i.e., the beginning of a three-day weekend), I discovered that my laptop had a virus. Several phone calls with the University of St. Thomas IT folks resulted in the conclusions that (1) no technician would be available to to look at the laptop until Tuesday morning and (2) I should not use my laptop in the interim. (I’m composing this on another computer.)
My reaction was not impressive. I was aghast at the thought that I would be without a computer for three whole days. How could I manage for three days with no access to my Word files. No access to the e-mails stored on the laptop. No access to….
As I’ve reflected back on the reaction I had on Friday, I wonder if maybe I’ve become just a tad bit too attached to my computer. This is after all a holiday weekend. Would the world really come to an end if I couldn’t access my the files relating to the ERISA litigation book supplement I’m working on for three days? Would it really be so horrible if I couldn’t access my stored e-mail files? Under the worse of circumstances, I could get some use of my daughter’s laptop or my husband’s desktop computer to check e-mail and compose my blog posts.
I was able to get to UST IRT just before they closed Friday afternoon (an hour in rush hour traffic) to pick up a loaner laptap. That doesn’t give me access to my stored e-mail files or my Word files (although I had some of those on a flash drive), but it does give me good internet access and the ability to do some drafting of new material. But even without the loaner, would it have been so tragic to be completely unplugged for three days?
The reality is that over the last several years, the only time I forego daily computer use and access is when I’m on my annual silent retreat. Other than that, not a day goes by when I don’t check e-mail, otherwise surf the web, work on my academic scholarship, or prepare for class or retreats, etc. My reaction to the prospect of not being able to do that suggests that perhaps I ought to “unplug” a little more often. A day here or there where away from the computer might not be a bad thing to help me remember that the computer is a useful tool, but not something I need to be attached to (either literally or figuratively).