Wednesday, January 25, 2006
...and fell hard. Just a couple days after my two month sobriety milestone and I hit my first rock in the road.
I typed up my last medallion post at home and I’m ready to submit. I pack up the laptop and head out to the café. Distracted by solving the Rubik’s cube, not looking where I’m stepping, I slip on ice. Went down hard on my left knee. However, I did catch myself with both hands. Checked my jeans to find no damage. Cursed myself for screwing around with that damn cube, brushed myself off and continued onto the café.
When I arrive, the laptop fails to boot. After 15 minutes of trying different things, still nothing.
I stop and think; What could’ve happened in the fall? The backpack shifted, but I don’t believe it hit the ground. Whatever is wrong, the café is the wrong place to diagnose it. Pack it up and head back home.
Another reflection; What do I do if it wont boot up? My first thought is: What if this leads to a relapse? This stops me in my tracks. This is the most important problem. It doesn’t matter if I can’t recover stuff off the hard drive. It doesn’t matter if this laptop, that’s on it’s last leg anyway, dies. You don’t need a laptop! No one else at The House has a laptop and they’re still working the program. (Okay, a dozen guys relapsed this weekend, but that’s a different story.) I didn’t even have a computer when I started this Weblog; just used library’s computers. A repair bill is out of the question: this laptop is not worth the money to repair even if I had the money. It’s not that it’s damaged, it’s just obsolete. I couldn’t get a liter of Vodka with the money they’d give me for it at a pawn shop.
It doesn’t mean I have to give up this Weblog. Just will make it less convenient to update. What it does mean is no more downloading music from the Internet.
If that’s the extent of its effect, I can live with it. No need to relapse over this. It’s just a piece of crap old laptop anyway. Let it go.
But what I did realize is that this was the first obstacle in my recovery. I have to take that seriously. There will be more, and they will be more difficult.
So, I headed back home trying to think of what was happening to the laptop. When I arrived, I set an alarm for the 4th Step Workshop meeting that night. No matter what, I wasn’t going to miss that. I thought of my Higher Power, my deceased Father. What would he have done? Well, it’s worth nothing now. Let’s open it up!
I plugged it in and booted it up in the quiet of my room. It’s sounds gave clues as to how far it got into the boot-up process. Everything with it’s own controller came up: hard drive, CD-ROM, display lights (to some extent). No sound though, nor screen. Not good.
I take a deep breath and think what I usually do before attempting an aggressive project: shot of courage. I used to have three shots of spirit, usually Whiskey, before embarking on such a project. Although I’ve built desktop computers from scratch, I’d never opened up a laptop before. Better make it four shots.
No, no, NO! Do this sober, God damn it! Take another deep breath. Just fucking do it sober you lush! Do something sober for God damn fucking once! If you screw up, you lost a laptop you thought was useless at one point anyway.
One more deep breath! Hold it! Grab the Phillips head! No, not the Phillips Vodka, the Phillips head screw driver. Crack this case!
An hour and a half later...it’s totally in pieces. I’ve re-seated the memory, modem, LCD cable, and keyboard. No change. I connect the house’s PC monitor up, but get just a flicker. I still have no clue what’s causing it not to boot. This had never happened to desktops. The alarm goes off.
Suck it up and go to your meeting.
On the bus I think of what I did so far, how it’s responding, what it is and isn’t doing. It’s still spinning up the drives. That’s something. I eventually put it out of my mind.
The only distraction I let divert me is a wonderfully beautiful woman who asked to sit by me. I know – cross addiction. I behave.
When I arrive back home I sit down to dinner before returning to the repair. Take another deep breath and dig even further into the laptop. I stop along the way every now and then to attempt a power up. I get to the CPU board. I remove its heat-sink. I carefully lift the CPU board out and notice it came out too easily. Re-seat it, apply power, up comes Windows! Eureka!
“What? That was easy!”, I exclaim out loud. Then I look at all the parts and 20 screws of six different sizes I still have to remember the locations of. Okay, it’s not easy, but it works! The fall must’ve jerked my whole body hard enough to pop the CPU out of its socket. And I can now put “Laptop Repair” on my résumé.
I pause to reflect and credit my Higher Power for the strength and courage. I pray that this lesson is an example to use when a really tragic event occurs.
It took several hours to re-assemble the piece of shit laptop, pausing at every stopping point to perform a power-up test.
So, if you’re all concerned and wondering why I’ve been away from this blog, this is why.