So last Thursday there’s me, sitting and doing the final rewrites of Extras. And I do mean final, because the manuscript is due to copyediting on Monday. (Yikes!)
Sitting with me is writing companion and corruptor of youth Maureen Johnson. We have a conversation that goes like this:
Scott: Dang! My computer is acting funny. I better reboot.
Maureen: Yeah, mine was acting funny before. This is the evil computer table.
Scott: Heh, heh. Hmm, this is taking awhile . . .
Ten minutes pass.
Maureen: Still spinning?
Scott: Yeah. You know what? I’m just going to go for a walk. You mind texting me when it’s done rebooting?
Scott walks to Broadway Panhandler. Looks at the coffee machines. Looks at the knives. Ten minutes on, a text from Maureen appears!
You now have a mouse pointer.
Yay, comes Scott’s reply.
He looks at the knives again. Wanders over to the Games Designers’ Workshop store and looks at tiny goblins with laser guns. Many more minutes slowly unfold.
You have a task bar, but no dock, comes fresh news.
I hate the earth, he replies.
Scott, you see, has not backed up the manuscript today. Yes, he is good and backed up last night. But the last two hours were smooth, flowing rewrites! And he doesn’t have time to piss around. This thing is due Monday!
More time passes. And endless non-time, a frozen hour, if you will.
Desktop icons are appearing!
Argh. On my way.
But not before looking at the knives at Broadway Panhandler again. Knives may be needed.
Scott returns to find his computer almost booted. He launches Mail, which takes another twenty minutes to grind into existence. Sends himself the all important Extras file.
Scott: I can’t tell you how much this sucks.
Maureen: I made you an appointment at the Apple Store.
Scott: You are like unto an angel.
They head to the Apple Store.
Genius-Bar Guy: Nothing can be done here. This hard drive is totally pooched.
Is this the end of Scooter?
Dark days for Scooter. And yes, my hard driver is named Scooter.
Genius-Bar Guy: But wait! Here comes TekServe to the rescue! (Or rather, they are a short cab ride from here.)
One new computer purchase and a short cab ride later.
Scott: Can you save Scooter, TekServe?
TekServe Woman: We don’t know. Your hard drive is pretty pooched.
TekServe Woman: *Smiles wisely, like a veternarian who has put down many a pet, and has seen sadness before.* Don’t worry. We’ll try. Are there any files in particular you need?
Scott: Hmm, maybe a . . . folder called “Extras.” (In which the manuscript has been saved every single day, showing the entire development of the work! Argh.)
TekServe Woman: Don’t you back up, dude?
Scott: Yes, every time before I travel. Well, except the last time. So, maybe last October? You see, I was waiting until the day we leave for Paris. Which is Monday. By the way, um, can you get this back to me by Monday?
TekServe Woman: *raises eyebrow* We shall try.
Scott heads home, saddened. At least he has a new 15″ G4! With a cool new remote control for playing music! (But he has no music, unless he rips all his CDs again.) And a great new version of Mail! (That doesn’t know his addresses, and has lost all of his spam teachings.) And wicked fast Wifi! (But Safari has none of his bookmarks . . . )
It is not the same. Scott works doggedly on the rewrite for Extras, but the larger keyboard is maddening! Key rewrite notes to himself are gone! It is a time of pain.
Then on Saturday, TekServe calls!
TekServe Guy: We have your computer. Your data has been rescued, and a new hard drive with that data installed!
Scott: The crops are saved! If by “crops,” I mean hours of hideous work!
Scott plunges back into the rewrites, full of joy. He is finished just in time to pack for Paris. The world is happy again.
Except . . . why are people banning Maureen? Stupid school boards who haven’t even read her book?
Don’t they know she made me an Extras-saving appointment at the Apple Store?
I am so calling TekServe about this crap. Maybe they can fix it.
First amendment good. Maureen’s book good. TekServe good.
Plus: Everyone go back up their computers. Now.