I've had a few impressionable ages in my life. Inflection points, if you will, where a small amount of pressure can drastically change the dynamics of the system.
One of those points, I happened to be reading Friday, by Robert A. Heinlein. There's a scene where the title character, Friday, is standing on the deck of a boat. The boats further up the river come under attack, and she jumps without hesitation. A slower-reacting friend is killed. Swimming away, Friday delivers one of Heinlein's favorite sayings:
'Sometimes, you have to be prepared to abandon your luggage.'
Originally, this post was going to be about how that scene, in that book, changed my life. I was going to wonder out loud whether reading that story, at that moment, had much to do with the restless, rootless, gypsy existence that has characterized so much of my adult life. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure I was going to end on something about 'the power of fiction', or maybe a musing on whether I'm finally settled now or simply resting for the moment.
And then the boat upriver exploded.
Okay, not really so bad: but my laptop *did* suddenly give me a 'blue screen error' and, just....
My tech guy (Of course I've got a tech guy; *someone* has to maintain the frickin' laser beams on the frickin' sharks' foreheads.) says the hard drive should be replaceable under warranty, but the data on it is almost certainly a-goners.
That means: every new email address in the last year, every email I've received in the past year, all digital illustration work and tattoo designs in progress, every (EVERY) photo I've taken in the last year, the master copy of my (long-neglected) website and the first 15,000 words of a little project I was doodling around with.
Oh yeah, and my book.
Instead, I have the beat-up old laptop the new one replaced. Its USB ports don't work (read: no printing, no flash drives, no nothing), it only seems to work on dial-up, and even thn it has the charming habit of randomly SHUTTING ITSELF THE FUCK OFF in the middle of any important operation.
1) I do have mulptiple backups of the new novel, though they are two drafts behind. Lucky me, I recently printed out a single clear copy of the latest draft for Her Tiny Majesty, the Great and Terrible Dynamo.
This draft, I get to re-type.
2) HTM, tGaTD likes me better now that I'm no longer 'on that bloody machine all the time'.
"The phone appears not be working."
The Dynamo tapped a single foot: tiny, chilling.
"Ummm, I'm afraid I might've left the computer cable plugged in to the socket."
"Let me get this straight..." The rhythm speeded. "You took the car to work, left me with no transport and no telephone..."
I thought about her cellphone. I thought about her bike. I thought it might be better to live.
"Y'know," I said, "if our house was just fourteen bedrooms on a desolate moor and you were in a lacy nightgown--"
No need to say more. She was already laughing.
Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have some typing to do.