‘Til hard drive crash do us part

Amy Durazo

My computer peaced out on Sunday. “No more,” it signaled to me by shutting down without warning, without even saying goodbye.

It dumped me.

At least that’s how it felt.

I was consumed by the initial feelings of helplessness, like my heart might stop at any moment, like my brain would turn off and leave me in a permanent vegetative state, like I would never, ever be able to pick up the pieces.

I went through the familiar motions of a breakup.

Anger: “How could you do this to me? What did I do to deserve this? What gives you the right to treat me this way?”

Denial: “It’s coming back. It’s going to be fine. This is all a terrible joke.”

Sadness: “Please come back. I need you. I’ll do anything!”

Despair: “Why, God, why?”

And finally, self-pity.

“Mom,” I sobbed into my cell phone. “My computer turned off and won’t come back on. I don’t know what to do.”

Neither did she. My mom knows approximately as much about computers as I know about airplane engines.

Still, I needed someone to break the silence, say something to make everything okay, feel bad for me.

“What is crying going to accomplish?” she asked, sighing.

Plenty of things.

Needless to say, she did not feel sorry about this.

“Is it really the end of the world? Can’t you put this into perspective?”

Yes. A broken computer means that, for X amount of days, I will be without 164 AIM profiles to check constantly, 369 Facebook walls to write on and 1,561 songs to listen to on something other than my iPod.

It means, for all intents and purposes, that I am obsessed with my now dead and gone Sony Vaio.

Some of us can’t live without television, others without their cell phones. All of us, I’m afraid, are married to technology.

It frustrated me to no end that my mom couldn’t understand what an integral role a laptop played in my life. That it contained the past four years of my college career in the form of digital pictures, term papers, homework assignments and websites in my favorite places. That it held an endless amount of information I might need, whether it be lyrics to my favorite song or up-to-date information about Allan Ray’s eye.

Then again, how could she? She had completed her assignments on a typewriter.

I wondered, if we were enrolled at Villanova 30 years ago, or even 15, would we be able to survive without our handheld devices, portable music players and electronic notebooks permanently by our sides?

Insecure students would be unable to walk around campus without pretending to check their voicemails or calling their roommates to chat on the way from Tolentine to Bartley.

We’d actually have to take notes in classes, lacking the capabilities of wireless internet to talk to people online rather than pretend to type furiously in a Word document.

There’d be no way to save face with our crushes by having awkward get-to-know-you conversations via instant message.

Late night booty calls? Not through text messages, but over dorm room phones. And no, absolutely no, Facebook. Want to know someone’s interests? Ask them yourself.

After the initial separation from my computer, I felt as ancient as the earliest Americans, struggling to occupy myself with the most primitive forms of entertainment.

But once on my own for a few days, the withdrawal symptoms began to subside. Whereas I once needed to advertise my activities in my away messages, I started to enjoy the fact that no one knew what I was up to. Instead of stalking my friends’ profiles, I stopped caring so much what they were up to.

It was liberating.

I felt as though I were on my own in the world, that I could take on anything. I debated shutting off my cell phone and hiding from humanity all together. I even thought about running away to the mountains to become one with nature.

“I don’t need the information superhighway to keep me warm, and I don’t need the soft humming of a computer to lull me to sleep,” I thought. “I’ll find something new to keep me company. I’m just fine on my own. I’ll be just fine.”

Psssh, who am I kidding?

I’m already in the market for a better, more reliable companion: one who will take care of me ’til death (or hard drive crash) do us part.