It looks like I'm back online for the time being. I borrowed my sister's laptop which is identical to mine in order to copy off the contents of my harddrive to an external. At least this particular computer related SNAFU won't end up resulting in data loss like so many times in the past. I guess that's something to be sort of happy about.
I've spent a lot of time thinking during my little hiatus and I'm not sure I've quite come back to a perfect equilibrium, but it's better than it was. I feel like I have a lot of things to get off my chest, but I don't want to vomit out a disjointed spew of emo-like crap. I'm sure none of you want to see it and I'm not even sure I would want to write it. Instead, I think I'll just let certain things drip out with time. Anything that doesn't end up making it to the page, probably wasn't all that important in the end anyway.
I'd also like to just say that I do appreciate the fact that some of you took the time out to drop me a line during this. Some of it was unexpected, but still very appreciated. Now that I have some stable net access, I'll get around to sending some belated replies.
When I was still in Chicago persuing my PhD, there was a professor in the department who had some medical issues. I don't recall the exact diagnosis now, but he was confined to a wheelchair and seemed to have multiple problems. From what I had been told, he had once been head of the department at one time and had many scientific accolades to his name. Ever since his decline, he stayed around, but it was pretty clear that he was no longer really functional. At one get together he had been wheeled into the room and at some point, his catheter had become separated from his leg bag. He ended up urinating all over the floor in the midst of various professors and graduate students, most of which pointedly ignored the situation. My adviser at the time grabbed a handful of paper towels and tried to unobtrusively clean it up.
I remember feeling such a rush of shame for the man while watching all of this. He didn't even seem aware of what had happened, and I couldn't decide if that made it all the worse or was simply a blessing in disguise. I couldn't think of anything more horrible than being in a situation like that and my immediate thought was that death would be a far better fate than what I was witnessing in the room that day. That scene comes back to me now as I'm thinking about how in the years since, I've sort of stepped into his shoes. I'm standing in my own pool of proverbial urine and it's hard not to think to myself that death would be better than this sort of shameful existence.
You can always rationalize events and say that it's not a person's fault when illness or disease creates situations out of their control. The fact remains that it doesn't really matter, right? There's still piss all over the floor and the only thing that might be worse than to see the repugnance on the face of others is to feel the condescension of their pity. Really, I had expected nothing better of the world, but the fact that it would also hold true with some of the few friends I have is what really cut to the quick. You can't blame people for acting like people. In the same situation, you can't say for sure you'd act any differently. Still, it's hard when you hear them mouth the platitudes and know they lie.
It looks like my sister wants her laptop back so there goes the net access again. Oh well. Things will continue to be sporadic until the new laptop arrives and that won't be for up to a week or more. Actually, it looks like it's going to be more, lots more. Looking at the order status, it seems that the ship date for the laptop has been pushed back quite a ways. It's not expected to arrive now until the 25th. It just boggles the mind why it would take over 3 weeks to construct and ship a laptop in this day and age. It's not even like I picked any strange or exotic options in the customization. It's just the generic model and the only thing different is in the OS. Everything else is just set as the default.
As I think about it, part of me is just tempted to call and get the order canceled and just forget the whole thing. I know I ended up paying around a hundred dollars more than I could have if I had simply waited for another good laptop deal to come around. The only downside is that there's never any guarantee when the prices will dip again. I could end up waiting a long time and it's not even like I'd have any good way to track the deals as they appear without a laptop to begin with.