Last spring, I hit a low that drove me off the computer. And by the time I was feeling better, computer problems kept me offline. I had already had to upgrade my operating system (couldn't run the latest version of Flash, which meant getting shut out of more and more Web content). Then my Mac and I hit the slippery slope.
I don't remember in exactly what order everything hit, but our Internet connection got increasingly dodgy. We had just replaced our DSL modem a few months before, so we were sure that couldn't be it. It had to be our ISP, right? But nearby friends and family with the same ISP weren't having similar problems, and ours kept getting worse, so we finally gave up and replaced the modem again.
That seemed to solve the problems getting online, but Mr. Sane's computer was still having problems, and so was mine. Turns out he had a virus... and so did I. (What? A virus? On a Mac? Heresy!) His school's nice IT people got his fixed up. The verdict on mine at the Apple Store was that I needed to do a complete wipe and reinstall.
Unfortunately, I hadn't backed up in, oh, forever. Even more unfortunately, I didn't have a large enough flash drive, but I did have a stack of CD-Rs. Oh, yeah, not one of my brighter ideas. So it didn't matter if I could get online or not -- I was busy spending every free moment for a week or so transferring files to CD. Obviously, I went into the project knowing neither how long it would take nor how cheaply backup drives could be had. (I think the 500 GB drive I eventually got cost about $50 or so, and I could have had 1 TB for not much more.) Live and learn.
So, we finally got the computer up and running again... and the cord died. I was not about to pay Apple Store prices for a cord for dying computer, so I sent away for something cheaper, which took a little time... and served me for about three weeks before the computer died its final death, just under a year after I'd upgraded the system.
Got -- hooray! -- a new computer, and quickly went into e-mail mode as manager of Beta's hockey team, but in the meantime, my relationship with my computer had completely changed. In all that time offline, the computer had become a machine I used for word processing and playing games. With no connectivity, I was no longer using my computer as a means of connection to others.
When I got the new computer, one of the first bookmarks I put in my browser was the bulletin board community I had been a regular part of -- but I didn't head there again. When a friend started blogging in January, and later, in the spring, when it had been about a year since my last post, I thought about blogging again -- but I didn't. My habits had changed, and it was almost as if I'd forgotten how. If I had a bit of free time and sat down at the computer, well, there was always another game to be played -- and now that I was connected again, I could play online, too.
But I've missed connecting with others, and I've missed writing, and finally, the desire to do those things again has gotten me through the "I really ought to do that"s and the embarrassment over how long I've been gone and gotten me back here. I'm sure I've lost whatever tiny readership I may have had, but I'm here nonetheless.