Sunday, November 25, 2012

Everybody Has Those Days

I don't think I've ever really had a Bad Day. Bad things have happened to me, yeah, but never all in one day to make it a capital-b Bad Day. And I never though my first would be here in Oxford. I mean, I usually describe my time here as the Best Day Ever. And I'm usually able to look on  the bright side of things, but the events of Friday definitely constituted a Bad Day.

It all started a few days before when my computer stared freaking out. It froze randomly and I had to restart it. This happened over and over again, interspersed with Kernal Panic. Sometimes after I turned it off, when I turned it back on again the screen would remain black and it would beep, once every five seconds. It eventually progressed to three beeps in a row every few seconds and I just knew this was not a good sign. So on Thursday I took it to an Apple Store  where they looked at it but couldn't find anything wrong without sending it out for a £78 diagnostic. (Side note: I miss HPU IT where they look at your computer for free!) To be fair, the guy who helped me was very helpful and nice and he did everything he could for me even though he wasn't charging me for this initial once over but since he wasn't especially technical there wasn't much more for him to do. I left dejected. Later that day I found a Mac Technician who would do the diagnostic for less than Apple so I made plans to go there the next day.

This brings us to Friday. That morning I turned by computer on and instead of the normal one or three beeps I had become used to, it beeped a pattern. Short short short, long long long, short short short. Yes, for those of you whio picked up on it, it was speaking Morse Code. And it said SOS. Not good. This should have given me an idea of what was to come that day.

So Caitlin and I boarded the U1 to try and find this place. We had to walk approximately 10 minutes from the bus stop. Part of the walk was along the Thames so it really wasn't that bad. We got to the road Mac Simple was supposed to be on and looked everywhere, walking up and down the street and couldn't find it anywhere. We eventually went into the Newsquest offices and asked the receptionist. She'd never heard of it but was really nice and offered to search it for us. She found it online and gave us directions that led us right there.

When we got to Mac Simple the man was really nice. When he asked what date it was, he said "Yesterday was Thanksgiving, right?" We were surprised that he knew that and he explained: "My wife is American. It's my job to know that." I left my MacBook in his capable hands and went back to the city centre for some shopping and then back to my flat.

I was in the computer lab working on some homework (and constantly typing @ sign instead of " because they are switch on the UK keyboards) when he called. "Bad news," he said, as he explained that my logic board was broken and it would cost over £700 to fix and thus I should just get a new computer. "I'm really sorry I couldn't give you better news," he said before he hung up the phone. And I genuinely believe he was. Sometimes he gets to be people's saviors and fix their computers when they think all hope is lost, and sometimes he has to take that hope away from people. And I just happened to be the second case. But it's not his fault.

I managed to keep my cool until I Skyped by parents and I broke down crying. My laptop was only two and a half years old and I was not prepared to buy a new one. Not only that, but I'm here for another 4 weeks and I'm not prepared to go without a laptop. But it's so much more expensive to buy one here (and I don't want a British keyboard) and shipping it over from the US would result in massive customs charges. I know Caitlin's parents worked it out that they were able to get a US MacBook shipped to the UK for what Caitlin thinks is the same price as the states, but I'm not sure.

I had to pick up my computer so I had to do the entire trek once more. The good news is that my hard drive is not damaged so my files can be saved, which is a relief. When I asked Tom from Mac Simple about it he said it would be quite easy, and that because I paid the diagnostic fee, he would be happy to do it for me for free if I brought my new computer to him. One snag: I won't ever have my new computer in Oxford. When I told him that he said that I could buy a hard drive case and he would take the hard drive out for me and explain to me how to transfer my files once I do get a new computer. I really appreciated this because he did not have to offer to do this for free. It was definitely above and beyond.

As I walked along the Thames back to the bus stop, I came across a houseboat that was entirely submerged under water. "At least my house boat didn't sink," I couldn't help but think. There's a bright side to everything I guess.

I needed to get home because I was making dinner and we had plans to leave the apartment at 5:35 to go into town. I got to the bus stop to learn that the next bus wasn't coming for another 20minutes because the stop is just outside the city centre and buses only come every 30 minutes. Buses come in the city centre every 15 and I saw on my bus schedule that there was a bus picking up at High Street in 15 minutes that would get me home 15 minutes earlier. So I decided to walk  the mile to the High Street stop, booking it the entire time. By the time I got there I was overheated in my peacoat and my feet really hurt because I was pushing it a bit. I got there with a minute or so to spare and I was pretty proud of myself. And then the bus didn't come. At all. And so, fifteen minutes later I found myself sitting on the bus that would have picked me up at the Osney Bridge stop had I just waited there. Of course this would happen to be. I was having a bad day.

While on the bus Austy texted me to ask if she could help me with dinner at all before I got home. I replied that she could shred some cheese if she wanted to, to which she replied "Mission accomplished" a minute later. She'd already shredded the cheese for me without me even asking her. She's the best. I got back to the flat and managed to make some delicious Quesadillas before we had to leave to catch the bus to the city centre.

We were going to see Out of the Blue, a male a capella group performing at the Oxford Light Night. I had been looking for it for weeks because I love a capella and all day all I could think was "At least I'll be seeing some a capella later." We got to the bus stop, and that bus came fifteen minutes late. And there was so much traffic in the city centre so it took us forever to get off the bus. So of course we missed Out of the Blue. This was the only thing that was going to salvage this terrible day, and we missed it. I pretty much just wanted to cry.

And then, to make matters worse, as we were walking I walked directly into a bench. It hurt so bad. My knee screamed and ached in pain: both the skin and the muscle felt like they were on fire and I had to walk with a bit of a limp. My knee still hurts now. Not to mention how embarrassing it is that I walked right into a bench. I mean, who does that|?

At this point I knew it was time for me to just go back to the flat and curl up in my bed watching Netflix on my tablet. I really just wanted that day to end. I know that everybody has bad days and that they are a part of life, but I hope I don't have to encounter one quite this anytime soon again. There were redeemable things in the day: almost all of the people who helped me were extremely nice and really did want to help, and my friends are pretty much amazing for putting up with me as I stressed about this all. And in the end that is what's most important, right? The people you surround yourself with? I think so.

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