13 November 2013

A helping hand...and paw

Yesterday, my MacBook wouldn’t start less than an hour after it had been working just fine. 

It was a scary realization of just how dependent I have become on my computer. I had most everything backed up on a flash drive, except for, of course, a detailed revision of a project I’d worked on until 2 a.m. the night before and that I needed to hand in later that day. I felt like my ability to work had come to a dead halt. 

I posted my dilemma on Facebook, explaining that my computer would turn on, but the screen remained black. Almost immediately, friends started responding with suggestions. Really great ones with certain key combinations to push.  I was overwhelmed with how helpful everyone was being. I think it was a combo of two things: I know really nice people and for almost all of us, in this technology day and age, it’s everyone’s worst fear that they’re going to have the same thing happen to them. 

One friend went far beyond the call. It turns out she had worked at Apple years ago and she understood exactly what was going on.  She was kind enough to let me call her as she tried to talk me through how to fix it.  We hadn’t worked together in years and I was struck by how generous she was with her time. 

We weren’t able to get my computer working, but she was able to assure me that it was very likely that it would be just fine. She was very convincing. 

I wasn’t able to get an appointment at Apple’s Genius Bar until the next day. Throughout the day, people were chiming in with different suggestions, all of which I tried, to no avail, but with a sense of hope and appreciation every time. 

I went to the Genius Bar today and within 15 minutes the technician was able to tell me all was well, my computer was just “confused.”  I hadn’t done anything to cause the problem, but he was able to show me a few things to do if it happened again. Very shortly, my computer was purring and working as if nothing had happened. 

While I was at the Genius Bar, my friend who had tried to help me over the phone, emailed me to see if my computer was working. I wish companies I dealt with on a regular basis offered that level of service! 

She refused to accept any payment for the help she’d given me, so I asked her to pick a charity that I could donate to in her name. She gave me two great suggestions so I’ll give to the other one at some point as well before the year ends. 

We’re all so busy, but people took time out of their day yesterday to try to help me, with some of them giving me repeated suggestions, while others just wanted to offer support and reassurance. It was a great reminder how much it means when someone takes a minute to try to pitch in, even if it’s just to express solidarity. This is definitely something I’ll pay forward. Plus, I now have a whole list of potential solutions the next time someone posts that their computer isn’t working that I can share. 

Today’s $10 goes to Shadow Cats, an Austin cat rescue that operates a little differently than most animal rescues. Shadow Cats focuses on our feline friends who are ill, injured and older. They trap feral cats, neuter them and release them. 

Shadow Cats also takes in many of the disenfranchised community cats, who live out their days in their sanctuary. Many of these cats have behavioral issues that make them unlikely candidates for adoption but Shadow Cats will adopt out the cats it rescues who have only minor issue. Just as some organizations work with at-risk kids, Shadow Cats works with at-risk cats. 

Leah, thanks for helping me and thanks for turning me on to Shadow Cats. 

Nov. 13: Shadow Cats

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