the belly of the beast

Our PC crashed. Yes, it was old; and yes, I’d been expecting it; and yes, I have online backup. However, losing an old computer is a death. Not in the emotional sense (although there is the anger that’s likely to arise reloading everything), but rather in the amount of details. Yes, I have the laptop – so I’m not completely unplugged – but the PC has the four various businesses that run out of this house and the email programs and the Blackboard programs from which we teach classes and the favorites we use to navigate our lives and and and. You know. You have a computer too.

So yesterday was a ten-hour day swallowed by the leviathan.

I was able to do research on the laptop regarding computer towers and so yesterday morning, first thing, I called around and found the one I wanted at Metro North. Now, although Metro North is part of the greater Kansas City city, I’d never been there although I’d passed it on my drives. By the time I returned home, it was noon. And then the great hunt began.

You know the drill: the good news is that we now have Windows 7 as an operating system; the challenge is that it’s so fast that sometimes the pages disappear somewhere else with a careless move of the mouse; so downloading new drivers to match printers and programs happened first and then the slow download of programs we always use – the online dictionary being only the most minor. I looked at Mozy, our online backup, but oh, my, doing the whole thing would have meant sucking down all the demons that lived on the old computer so care and discrimination had to be used. One small piece at a time.

I’m balanced somewhere between Ahab-like behavior, just wanting to get it DONE and killing old files in revenge for the problems in the old computer and Jonah-behavior in trusting the word to go slow. My son Stephen, who is thankfully wise and careful, is the Jonah part of the equation and I more rash like Ahab.

Whales are the unknowable. The metaphor for all that is beyond our capabilities. I don’t really want to end up like Ahab, tied to the beast with ropes and going down with the waves, and yet the task, i.e. getting our lives back on track electronically and caught up with everything that needs doing – classes, banking, email, frustrates my need for simplicity.

We all have our whales. Some months back I began calling computer days times of getting swallowed by the leviathan, but that’s a phrase any of us use could use when getting caught in the demands of life. Harder to wait quietly and see what the task really needs rather than flinging solutions willy-nilly hoping one of them might catch and hold.

So I sat here today and found Ahab’s story online – the tragic hero who for the most part is a reasonable man – but his tragic flaw impatient revenge rather than waiting for the moment and allowing it to come to him; and Jonah’s, who didn’t want to do the job given him (telling Nineveh it was about to be destroyed) and so ran away into the belly of the beast where he had no choice but to wait. And when spit out, decided to do what he was asked.

Peace with the process is an elusive goal and one that has to be practiced over and over. Daily. And so this morning, I’m practicing breathing and being present as I play with words on my laptop. It gives me the place to ponder and to remember. By remembering the process, I can also remember that the rest of it will come together if I refuse to give in to frustration and rush.  

Life only ties us up when we struggle too hard.

8 thoughts on “the belly of the beast

  1. It’s amazing how quickly our lives turn from being sanguine to chaotic based on a little machine. Items that were designed to make our lives easier have become such a necessity in maintaining balance and order in our overly busy daily activities.

    About a year ago I started having this feeling that my laptop was going to die, thankfully I listened and bought a backup hard drive. Low and behold, about a week later, it died. I was grateful I listened to that inner voice, but the transition to a new computer, with a Mac no less, was still frustrating. The first week I wanted to either return it or throw it out the window.

    Hope you maintain patience through this endeavor.

    1. Well, I did pretty well with patience through three hours of haggle over setting up our email program, but today the supposed-to-be-easy-retrieval system of our online backup wasn’t. And I could only do a chat with an online person NOT talk to one. I found myself writing in caps! And apologized by the end, but it took him going remote and getting inside my computer to fix the problem. My caps were my postal time. Otherwise, I’m mostly being patient. And taking my time. Mostly.

  2. Hmmm…let’s see. The choice seems to be, do what God asks you to do or…be spit up on a beach somewhere by a big-ass fish?!?!?!
    I’m going with obedience.
    Thanks for the reminder, Janet!

    PS we ‘invested’ in HP Simple Save external hard drives with auto back-up…after Kenny lost all photos for 2006-07. Cost of HP=@$100.

    1. Thanks, Valorie. Yeah, we have an online backup so didn’t “lose” any date, but setting up a new computer is still…. well… setting up a computer. The Leviathan. That’s it’s name. Third day in the belly of the beast.

  3. I think we were having a carbon copy day! I was trying to complete a Security Clearance, spent all morning trying to get into the program, spent all afternoon answering and updating all my information, was just about done, needed one piece of information and I got locked out! I just cried!!!!

    The process startes all over today and I am missing this beautiful fall weather. I added walking to my daily routine last evening after becoming one with this laptop since last spring.

    I do believe the only thing that kept me from throwing my laptop out in the street was the beautiful sea of Teal T-Shirts at the Whisper Walk on Sunday. To know so manu of the women there are survivors of Ovarian Cancer was such a beautiful site. And to know those of us that were there in memory of those who lost a love one to this deadly disease…as sad as it is, there were so many smiles and hugs. And to see the Dr. that saved my mom’s life for as long as she did was so delightful.

    So when the tears came yesterday after an all day attempt and then CRASH…I knew if I got up, walked away and now I am returning and trust it will all come back to me today with ease.

    Hang in there with Windows 7! Peace to you Janet, it will come with ease.

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