Tuesday July 2, 2013
Both Alison and I rely heavily on our laptops to keep us connected with the rest of the world as we travel. Suddenly, and without warning my computer refused to start up this morning despite all my attempts to encourage it to do so. Alison immediately began sharing her computer with me and I went online to look for possible ways to wake up a sleeping MacBook. I kept finding the same solution suggested: reset the System Management Controller (SMC), but trying that multiple times didn’t get a peep out of my precious.
Having access to Alison’s computer gave me the basics of my electronic life, but the things I was used to having access to, like my iBank accounts, my Kindle murder mysteries and Formula 1 Live Timing were simply not available. In the bigger picture none of those things were really of any great import, and not having my own computer led me to looking for something, anything, to read, and to finding William Paul Young’s extraordinary book The Shack hidden away behind a stack of John Grisham and Robert Ludlum holiday potboilers. I then read The Shack twice in two days. So on balance I figured that I’d gained more than I’d lost, but I anticipated that I was probably going to have to wait until we were back in Vancouver to get my computer repaired, and that was still more than five weeks away.
So I was faced with the task of accepting the is-ness of the moment: of letting go of my attachment to having a computer at my command. It also meant that we had only one computer to rely on instead of two, and then Alison had difficulties getting her computer to charge that same night, and then had a problem getting it to restart. We were able to sort it out and get it charging again and eventually she was able to get it started, but it made us realize just how close to the edge we were. If anything went wrong with her computer and we couldn’t use it then we’d have to rely on Internet cafes, and that probably wouldn’t work for getting her blog posts done, or, more importantly, for doing necessary travel research and booking. So all we could do was take the best care possible of her computer and make sure that we backed it up every day.
Sunday July 7, 2013
I was looking forward to watching two back-to-back races live on TV: The German Formula 1 race beginning at 7:00 this morning and a mountain stage of the Tour de France beginning right after it, but it began raining torrentially hard last night and continued throwing it down all night. Soon after the rain began the satellite box stopped receiving a signal and only began working again this morning once the rain finally stopped at around 9:30, just in time for me to see a repeat of the winner crossing the line in today’s stage of the Tour.
After doing a lot more deep breathing and letting go, after realizing that I probably wasn’t going to see either of my races, I suddenly had a thought: I have an extended warranty on my computer, why don’t I try to find out if I can get online help from Apple? I’d never even thought about trying to do this before that moment, but I got on the Internet, found the Apple help page, and Skype phoned them. After I described the problem to the Genius at the other end of the line she suggested trying the SMC reset. I didn’t tell her that I’d already tried this and she wasn’t too encouraging about the possibility of it working, but I did what she told me, which was not any different from what I’d already tried a number of times on my own. This time a miracle happened: my computer started up quite happily on the first press after doing the reset and continued to work just fine, including doing a backup.
When the satellite TV signal began working again I was able to look at the on-screen guide and discovered that both races that I wanted to watch would be repeated later in the day, so I wouldn’t miss either of them.
So what do I think was really going on over the past few days? The only thing I can conclude is that The Mystery really wanted me to read The Shack and get the messages that I needed to get from reading it, and that there was no other way for The Mystery to get my nose out of my computer and into a printed book. In addition one of the clearest messages I got from The Shack was that I needed to do a lot more letting go of control and letting go of thinking that I have any control over what happens in my life, hence the failure of both my computer and the satellite feed, to propel me into doing a lot of deep breathing and letting go of my attachment to having things work the way I want them to. This nomadic journey was given life when I said a big YES to letting go of the life I had in Vancouver. At that time I kept letting go into whatever The Mystery had to offer or suggest. In the two years since then I’ve had no reason to stop trusting the guidance that I’ve continued to receive. It’s just that sometimes I seem to need clearer guidance to set me straight in my thinking once more. My computer refusing to start, the TV satellite feed going on the blink, the hiccup with Alison’s computer, coupled with being propelled into reading The Shack were all God’s two-by-fours: they served their purpose of getting my attention and reminding me that ultimately there is no control over what happens: you get what you get.
Photo of the day, from Don: On the way up Mandalay Hill
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – not just a travel blog, 2010-2013.