Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Ancestry of My Computer

Written September 14, 2015:
My computer is dying. His motherboard is failing. I call him Frankenstein, as he is cobbled together from bits of new and old and scavenged parts. He’s one in a long line of computer-helpers I have had that were passed down to me.
Well over a decade ago, I was gifted a hand-me-down computer by friends. And when that one crashed and burned three years later, I was gifted another tower by another friend. That one got me another three years.
When that one puttered out, it was in spurts, clearly warning me the end was coming. Another friend of mine found me a tower, the same day, that was being recycled from a small business, for $100. So I pilfered the money I had saved up to fix my sewing machine and bought the new computer.
Since then, another friend of mine has been the guardian angel of my writing and is my go-to computer guy. When the machine blinks or burps or blips I call him. We have replaced the sound card, wiped viruses, uninstalled and reinstalled operating systems, and dealt with hard drive issues to keep it going. After one call to him about strange noises in the fan and pages loading weird, my beloved Frankenstein was given a death sentence. We didn’t know when and we didn’t know how, but he was slowly shutting down. His motherboard was draining power from the other organs of his insides and piece by piece, they stopped working.
So I watched what I demanded of him. I didn’t download or upload any heavy programs. And he chugged along for a couple more years.
Last week his poor little brain started spazzing out, trying to perform at 100 CPU even though nothing was running. And today his exhaust fan stopped working. Tomorrow his meat gets a brain transplant and a new skin. It’s not a big upgrade, but it’s a similar brain with far fewer miles on it, another machine that had been destined for recycling.
Someone else’s upgrade was an answered miracle for me today.

I get attached to the pens and machines I use to create my stories. And even though it will still be my computer’s hard drives in a new box, I am sad to see big, clunky, noisy Frank go.
His new, temporary home is a small, sleek white cereal box of an tower. I have already started calling her Leia, for the dark patches on either side of her white face. And then I was reminded that Frank had another life before me, just a peon worker in some small office somewhere. It seems fitting somehow that Frankenstein has come full circle, finding a new home with Leia’s motherboard, another tower whose previous life was with a small business.
That thought, of his life before me, prompted by a friend, lead me to contemplate his life before that office space, when he was just separate pieces- a motherboard, exhaust fan, disk drive, sound card, video card, hard drives, etc. He was bits and pieces built separately, sent to some factory and assembled together. Before that he was bits of wire and metal and plastic and tungsten, cut, soldered, and cobbled together to form working pieces. And before he was bits and baubles, he was precious minerals mined from the earth- gold, platinum, palladium, copper, aluminum, steel, oil and tungsten.
I can’t help but think, with gratitude, at how far these precious resources travelled and evolved to be built into a machine that was sold to a business and then second-hand to me. I hate my reliance on technology I can’t afford to keep up with. But I am grateful for Frank, my Frankenstein, who is becoming FrankenLeia. He was gifted to me as a tool to start writing my stories. He is the vehicle I use to search for submissions and send out my work. He is what makes my weekly blog that people are now reading possible.

My gratitude is boundless.

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