I completed my computer yesterday. After struggling with the BIOS for several hours trying to get it to recognise all my hard drives (namely my Western Digital Raptor, which is my boot drive), I managed somehow to format the hard drive with all of my files on it. 120gb of MP3 music, video, program installers, ROMs, images, and every document I’ve ever written. Gone. I have one more data recovery program to try before I give up its ghost.
Losing data is a hard thing. In September of 2002, just as I was meeting my current girlfriend, the primary (only) hard drive on my old machine began to fail. I had just enough time to transfer important files and documents across my LAN before I sent it in and had the drive replaced. I lost some MP3s, but mostly damaged was averted. Later that winter, I bought a WD 120gb, hoping that the quality inherent to the brand would preempt failures.
This is disastrous, I thought this time. My entire history, writing-wise, was gone without a trace. All my old poetry, stories, essays, book pieces, plays… but I console myself with the fact that the majority of it was garbage that I will never use again or even miss. Still, it hurts. I was able to save my site layout (which hadn’t yet been deleted from the old machine) and my mail archives. My mail, by the way, is another good place to recover some of my lost writing.
My girlfriend (and I, to a vicarious extent), enjoys watching a show called Clean Sweep, which, for the uninitiated, consists of professional cleaners and organizers (namely a severe Australian reminiscent of Simon Cowell) who fix up two rooms in messy (caricaturistically so) peoples’ houses. There comes a point in every show when these poor homeowners are fussbudgeting over some heirloom or artifact (I am thinking specifically about a mediocre painting that a man’s mother made just before she died). Every episode, this damnable Aussie manages to convince these hapless people to give said contrivance the ol’ Heave-Ho.
I suppose if a man can toss his dying mother’s painting away, I can live without some shitty “poetry” from 1998 and 10 different pictures of sunflowers. For now, anyway. Already, I’m plundering the internet to rebuild my glorious binary empire. It will be a slow, bandwidth-intensive process, but I’ve lost nothing that I cannot forfeit or find again. I consider myself lucky: my computer is built, I have a fast internet connection and a working knowledge of resources. More importantly, I have a cat in my lap, purring, I’ve got a great job, and I’ve got a beautiful, fabulous girlfriend.
In closing, I’d like to relate a short anecdote that makes my current absurdity seem downright infinitesimal by comparison. In class today, there was a girl (whose faults are numerous, but which I will not dwell on) wearing one of those shirts with the very open top, the kind that swoops several inches below the neck and out past the collarbone. This is on a very cold day, mind you, so she wore a scarf. You can just imagine the girl, on a freezing day, her midriff bare as well, with a bright red scarf wrapped snugly around her neck, 5 inches of bare back and shoulders, and then her shirt.
It kind of makes you wonder.