Aaron R. Davis
I woke up one morning four weeks ago to discover that my external hard drive was no longer being recognized by my computer.
I’ve never had one before, but I’m pretty sure the feeling that started burning into my neck, slid into the pit of my stomach and then dropped down into my bowels was pretty close to a rectal prolapse.
As I was in the process of recovering from a major computer crash a couple of months ago that required a total reformat of my OS, I hadn’t gotten a chance to back up all of my files … my external hard drive was my back up. Add to that the fact that my CD burner doesn’t work anymore and I guess I was just cruising into this inevitability in a world where everything is digital and paper-free, and almost never works the way it’s supposed to.
And where the tragedy of my time-wasting becomes perfectly clear.
Okay, okay, everything’s going to be fine. I’ve had this problem before: it’s just a faulty power cord. I’ll replace it ASAP. It’s Friday … if I pay extra for overnight shipping and Saturday delivery, I’ll have my stuff back by tomorrow.
Next day: alright. It’s not a power cord problem. Fuck.
Alright, I’ll take the drive out of the enclosure, and I’ll plug it into one of the drives on my computer, and everything will be fine. It’ll read it, I’ll get my data off and I won’t use that one ever again. I’ll just buy a new external drive, one not made by LaCie, and I’ll have my stuff back by tonight.
Tonight: shit. My drive is a SATA, and the ones in my computer are IDE.
Okay, I just need some kind of converter. Tiger Direct sells an adapter that plugs into the drive and sends it through the USB. I’ll order it, plug it in and have my stuff back in a few days.
In a few days: crap. It only read it for a minute and now it can’t find it again. And the drive feels like it’s running too hot.
Okay, there’s a tech place here in town that does data recovery. I’ll have a guy come over and take a look at it, he’ll figure out what the problem is. The drive isn’t making any funny noises, so maybe it’s just an issue with my computer not reading it instead of a serious drive problem. I don’t know, something to hold on to. Okay, I’ll get a tech over here, and I’ll have my stuff back by tomorrow afternoon.
Tomorrow afternoon: damn it, damn it, damn it! He’s going to have to send it to a lab to reconstruct the drive.
God damn it! I’ve already spent over $300 to figure out what’s going on, and I still don’t have any of my files back! I have pictures of my sister on there, and she died four years ago! 95 percent of my music collection is on that damn thing! All of my lists and files and back ups of applications and two novels I’ve been working on since I was in high school! And now I have to spend another seven hundred bucks just to have access to this shit?
Why is the universe doing this to me?! How much more money do I have to spend on this stupid thing?!
ALL I WANT ARE MY FILES BACK!!!
Alright, maybe I can just try the adapter again. It’s been a couple of weeks now, and nothing else has been done to the drive. It’s cooled down, it hasn’t been used, I didn’t have the money to send it in to get looked at … maybe it just needed some time and I can plug it in and just get some of the files off. Just let me get my documents and my wife’s art projects, that’s all I ask. That’s all I care about anymore.
Please, let this work. If this works, I promise I’ll be better about backing up and I’ll be better about working around the house and doing the dishes and everything, just please let this work.
Oh, fuck you, universe. And fuck you, computers!
Why am I even bothering with this thing? Why am I even bothering with anything? What’s the point? If it can all just disappear in a moment for seemingly no reason, what’s it even worth? Is this all just stuff I use to waste time during the day, anyway?
And the sick thing, the really sick thing, is that if it is all just stuff I use to waste time with, and then I’m devastated when it all goes away, that just means I have no life whatsoever.
This is just an object lesson in how pathetic I am. I hate myself.
What’s the point of anything?
Okay, I’m going to move on from this. BFD, you know? True, I lost a bunch of stuff that can’t be replaced — and I will always, always feel shitty about losing my wife’s art projects — but how much of it did I even need? Stuff can be recreated. My Dad is going to make a DVD with all of the pictures of my late sister on it. And finding all of that music again could be fun. It’s not the end of the world.
It’s a lesson in backing up your data, but it’s not the end of the world.
For now …
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.