“Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house ,
not a Facebook was stirring , with or without a mouse ……….
…………or something like that . Suddenly Facebook , AOL , WordPress , and a couple of other sites Ada visits were not working . I knew that it must be the server , that our equipment was good .
I know almost nothing about internet technology . But , after several hours of past conversations with India , and one or two with the Philipines , I know a little bit . I know enough to ” power down ” and then to ” power up ” , as a start . I don’t turn things off and then turn them on again these days . Instead , I power down .
I used to talk to the computer guy at work when I had computer problems . Well , that is , when I had concerns . A colleague of mine used to say , ” There are no problems here ; only concerns . “ Nine times out of ten , maybe ten times out of ten , the computer guy , said to be a tech whiz , said to be a computer genius , would tell me “Turn it off and turn it on . “
Turn it off and turn it on ? Are you kidding ? That’s the extent of his great computer knowledge ? , I used to wonder . Turns out , now that I know a little bit more about it , his frustratingly inane-seeming advice that used to make me question his sanity actually held some essence of tech wisdom . Maybe he should have told me to ” power down ” , though . I may have felt a little better , more confident in his great technical genius , more optimistic as I turned my laptop off and waited a couple of minutes so the invisible internet armies could gather , could stealthily marshal their magical forces to once again breath life into the now -useless hunk of metal and plastic that sat quietly on my desk waiting with me for the magic to happen .
A note about human capacity for optimism:
I walked over to Ralphs Market on Christmas morning to buy a bag of ice . Ralphs was closed . There was not even one car in the huge parking lot . Not one delivery truck . As I got close enough to realize that the supermarket was closed , which was obvious from about a half-block away , I saw a small car with two people drive into the Ralphs parking area . They found a good spot near mid-lot and parked . They de-car-ed . De-vehicled ? Okay , how about de-automobiled ? The two of them de-autoed and walked toward the store. The entire place was dark . Wouldn’t you think that one or the other of them would have picked up a couple of hints that the place was shut down for Christmas ? One of them then tried the door , still not giving up ! It wouldn’t open .
Optimism is a good thing , but I suppose it’s on a continuum with brain-frozenness . Maybe it’s a fine line, there’s a slippery slope , somewhere along that continuum when an otherwise intelligent , functioning person could slide from one condition to the other .
” Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible .” ———Albert Einstein
One of my nephews was over on Christmas and Ada asked him to look at her laptop . Maybe he could fix the problem . He was sure that he could and so he got to work on the problem . Sorry , he got to work on the CONCERN . But , after he worked through a checklist of possible problems , he gave up .
It’s the server , I said again . The server —-as if I know what a server is . I visualize something along the lines of the Wizard of Oz man- behind- the- curtain , with a bank of computer hard-drive boxes lined up on shelves . But my nephew tried . He had begun the task confidently , optimistically . But , I knew that he wouldn’t be able to fix it . I’ve talked at length to gentlemen in India about such matters and so I know a bit about it .
Later on the same day , a friend of ours wanted to try her hand with the problem . Her optimism was almost visibly bubbling up . She monkeyed with the modem , fooled with the laptop , checked in on her smart phone , I think , too . She was filled with self-confidence , armed with computer know-how , staunchly determined . She disappeared into our small study . I found her sitting on the floor in there , now with two lap-tops , hitting keys as if triangulating them with the blinking lights of the modem , going through a mental struggle , bound and determined to overcome it . It’s the server , I said again , but she wasn’t giving up .
“It must be your settings on Facebook , ” she suggested to me . ” Did you change any settings recently ? You’ll have to reset it . “But I hadn’t . ” Maybe get rid of cookies . ” I insisted that she come out and re-take her chair at the table . We were in the middle of Christmas dinner , after all . She did so reluctantly . She again joined us there , where the cookies around were gingerbread men , and snickerdoodles , and had nothing to do with computers .
Ada asked me later to call our internet provider to report the problem . I did . A pre-recorded message told me that there had been ” an outage ” and that service would be restored by 10:00 p.m. Nothing , specifically , was said about a server . I think , to tell you the truth , that the server , simply , had too much eggnog on Xmas eve , bored , stuck in there alone along with his computers , and nodded off for awhile . He , no doubt , unexpectedly powered down to take a snooze . It happens . I know a little bit about these things .