I used to have the type of Mac computer that had a “known issue” that caused it to stop functioning. This was problematic, because I am a writer by trade, and I can’t make money on a computer that has broken down.
I wrote this piece in July of 2015. I read “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back”, in episode 11 of my Words of Jen podcast.
My computer decided to die the other night, with no warning whatsoever. Or, I guess I should clarify that the video card died, not the entire computer. It’s a Mac of the type that has a “known issue” with the video card, which died two months past when the warrantee ended (to make a long story short).
So, for now, I’m using my laptop with an ancient, but functional, monitor and am able to continue writing blogs for pay. The Mac is sitting on a shelf somewhere in a shop that specializes in them, waiting for us to give the workers the “go” on fixing the video card.
Amazingly, we do have the money to pay for the repair. But, it’s gonna take a big chunk out for our “emergency fund” that we painstakingly built up after filing for bankruptcy (which officially got resolved in March of this year).
I’m wondering what’s gonna break down next. The car? The refrigerator that was here when we bought the place? Will there be enough money left to pay for that? (And no, we don’t have credit cards anymore due to the bankruptcy).
Earlier this year, the water heater up and died one day, leaving us with no immediate means of replacing it. Having to take a “bath” in about two inches of freezing cold water, in January, leaves one cold all the way to the bone and with a feeling of desperation that doesn’t come from any other situation.
It sucks to have to wash your hair in the sink, as quick as you can, before the ice cold water becomes too painful on your scalp and ears. It dries funny afterwards, in part because you can’t quite get all the shampoo out of it this way.
That situation got resolved, with help from some local assistance programs (for lack of a better term) and the help of our Ohana. I am grateful for that.
And now, it’s the middle of the hottest, most humid, “let me die already rather than face another day of this” summer weather. I don’t know how many days I’m going to be working on a laptop that has been “Frankenstein” stitched to a really old monitor that, together, will let me get my paid work done (but not much else). I write frantically, trying to catch up to where I wanted to be.
Those websites I bookmarked because they gave me ideas about what to write for work? They’re on my main computer, which is sitting on a shelf somewhere, gathering dust, waiting for a part and the money to pay for the repair. I got lucky that this month’s work was on my external drive. If I get the computer back soon, I can access the bookmarked “notes” I made for myself about what to write next month.
If not, I have to start from nothing. My efforts to get just a little bit ahead went *POOF*, just like my computer’s video card. I can’t move ahead no matter what I do. I’m stuck in this cycle where I can’t get away from the past. It’s Groundhog Day, over and over again.
Two steps forward – bankruptcy finished and starting to save a pittance of money – one step back – water heater dies, and “bleeds” a small flood of water onto the ground outside.
Two steps forward – water heater fixed, and we qualify for food stamps – one step back – the food stamps get taken away because we just eked over the financial boundary line.
Two steps forward – we save up a tiny “emergency fund” and I managed to pick up a little bit extra work this month – one step back – video card dies and takes away my computer (the tool I need to get my work done so I can get paid).
…This is how writers end up losing their sanity. One breath of hope, one small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel…
One train attached to that glimmering light, that pushes you all the way back to where you started…yet again.