Technical Difficulties

Here's the first thing you need to know ~ I have a very low threshold when it comes to technical shenanigans in the midst of socializing. What does that mean "in the midst of socializing"? It means this:  You're with friends or family, enjoying precious quality time together, and someone says, "Hey I want to show you this thing on YouTube," or maybe it is a video on their computer, or something on their phone, or something that requires the TV to be hooked up to the microwave, or whatever. And that person thinks this presentation will require nothing more than the click of a mouse or a few clicks on the keyboard, until ~ not so fast little buckaroo ~ something's not working... A new version of the software is required. Or the internet is down. Or there's a tsunami hovering over the Indian Ocean causing some kind of weird anomaly that is making the refrigerator ring and the phone ice cold. You know those situations I'm talking about.

It is those scenarios that inspire the same thought from me every time, which is "OK, the clock is ticking. I am now losing precious moments not only with my peeps, but also out of my very life." There is something about those minutes that click by as cords are checked and videos are buffered and whatnot that make me a little bit nuts. OK, a lot nuts.

And so...

Last week I heard a song on the radio that I had never heard, started crying, wrote down the name of it, and then went immediately home in order to start working on a video for my family of the day Faryn was born. I spent all evening on it, stayed up late, and worked on it for much of the next afternoon in anticipation of a family dinner we were having that evening. I got it all shipshape, and despite a few issues with formatting, went to dinner carrying four beautifully labeled CDs with the video. I was so excited I could hardly see straight.

I told everyone I had a surprise for them, and before long we were all gathered around T's laptop in the living room. The video began and everything proceeded as expected ~ the tears! the laughter! the joy! Until ~ screech ~ the video gets hung, and we're stuck with the soundtrack of the CD's labored spinning in the laptop.

Cue the first hints of my nervous breakdown.

Everyone is calm and kind and supportive, and we decide to have dinner before we try to figure out the problem because hey, who wouldn't want to see THAT again?

After dinner C's dad grabs his PC laptop, and I announce that I'm going to get the video going and make sure it works in the other room before we try to watch it again. I go into T's bedroom and insert the CD. But wait ~ what's wrong here? The CD won't go in. So I try to pull it back out, but instead a little drawer pops out (without the CD in it.) A drawer? And that's when I did this.

Mortified at my ignorance of PC mechanics, I bring the laptop back out in the living room ~ with the drawer still sticking out ~ and everyone says, "What's wrong?" Fast forward five minutes later, and I am holding the laptop on its side off the edge of the dining room table while C's brother tries to gently pry out the CD with a kitchen knife and tweezers. He is on his back on the floor, as if working under a car, and I am also trying to balance a flashlight aimed up towards the side of the laptop. Suddenly, whoosh, out pops the CD!

C's brother then quietly takes the PC laptop over to the TV, inserts the CD correctly, plugs the two together, brings up the video, and hits play. But wait ~ what's wrong here? The sound is out of synch. And guess what ~ that simply will not do. So the gauge on my panic meter proceeds to steadily climb, and I begin my chorus of, "Stop the video! It's not right!"

Once again, everyone is very calm and very kind, and C suggests we give it a go in their bedroom, where an Apple desktop computer sits quietly. So the two of us go there, he connects the speakers, we drag the video onto the desktop, hit play and hold our breath, when suddenly I hear my husband from the other room saying, "How's it going in there?" in a slightly snarky tone, where I can totally see him cracking himself up.

Can I tell you how hard it was not to march back into the living room and physically eject him from the premises?

But I restrained myself, because the video was working, and this time I was smart enough to drag it to the desktop rather than play it from the CD, where it would likely get hung again mid-video and I would have run out into the street screaming. So I go back out into the living room and wrangle everyone into the bedroom where we all circled around the computer with our faces lit up by the blue-ish light of the monitor. And I hit play, and the video worked.

And just like that, all was right with the world.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide