There is a phenomenon known as “Phantom Limb Syndrome”. Amputees experience it during the first months after having a limb removed, and, in some cases, it can last years. The brain perceives signals from the nerves in the missing limb, and interprets them as sensation. An amputee will feel pain in an arm or leg that is no longer there. (Until recently, no one knew what to do for these poor people to alleviate their excruciating pain. In a previous blog, I mentioned a contemporary genius, Vilayanur Ramachandran. He has come up with a solution and you can learn about it here.) In my life I have, thankfully, never been in a position to completely understand this phenomenon, but I recently came close. While I have never lost a limb, about a month ago, I dropped my laptop.
It was early on the second day of E3 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo. My husband had been religiously following the proceedings on the first day and had asked to borrow my laptop so that he could view the streaming key note presentations. “Why not?”, I thought. No harm in letting a geek borrow technology. It’s not like he can do anything to hurt the laptop. Of course, I was right on that point, but it was when I “borrowed” my own laptop back to check my email before heading to work. I picked it up off my husband’s desk, used it, and got ready to put it back on my husband’s desk when I lost my balance and dropped the whole thing. I watched it, as if in slow motion, spin out of my hand and slide onto the floor. Not having time to inspect the damage myself, I left a quick note scrawled on a paper towel (don’t ask) and headed off to work.
It wasn’t until later that day I learned of the havoc I had left in my path of destruction. Not only had I trashed the hard drive in my brand-new two-month-old laptop, but, horror of horrors, my husband could no longer watch the streaming E3 videos! He tried everything he could think of before finally acknowledging defeat. Luckily, I was still under my warranty, but the process of filing a warranty claim, getting the new hard drive installed and getting all of my software took FOREVER. And in the meantime, here I sat, twiddling my thumbs, without a computer of my own to be able to do my “stuff”.
I was still able to check my email on my phone, and I did borrow my husband’s system occasionally, but for the most part I was an involuntary Luddite for several weeks. Of course, being in a position to NOT be able to write made me all the more anxious to write. The longer I was without my laptop, the more I began to miss the freedom I felt (and had taken for granted) with my own portal onto the web.
Now that I am back, I am slowly gearing up to where I was before. I have been posting to Facebook and Twitter, I have been playing my online-time-waster games, and finally, I am writing again. It almost feels like I am starting all over again, and in a way, I am. Today is a new beginning in brand new world. One where I don’t drop my laptop ever again.