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We’re sort of attached.

Translation: I’m sure there are moments when The Preacher regrets buying it for me…

A laptop.

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Especially on late nights when he’s slumbering, and I’m still awake—tapping furiously on those smooth, square keys.

I try to explain… he tries to understand:

Eat.

Sleep.

Write.

Or…

Write.

Write.

Write.

Sleep.

Write.

(So say other writers. Since discovering the reality of the statements, they have become the all-encompassing-description of my life.)

As a writer my laptop is my mobile office, my lifeline, my past, present and future… and the bearer of all my virtual sticky notes scribbled with To-Do lists, To-Write lists, To-Add-to-My-Planner lists, Books-To-Borrow-From-the-Library lists, Who-To-Call lists, Wish-lists, Christmas-Gift lists, Bills-To-Pay lists and Don’t-I-Dare-Forget lists…

Mom! You can’t even see your desktop background! she once said, referring to the short, long and even longer yellow boxes slapped across the screen.

Enough explanation?

So, the other morning when I opened the lid, pushed the little round button, waited for all the invisible systems to arrange themselves properly, allowing me to start my work…

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and then waited some more—

I knew something was wrong.

Up popped the dreaded box…

with a technological message of some sort, communicating impending doom. Or in other words, interactive login failure. (Whatever that means! All I know is—something’s NOT working!)

My heart rate increased, but very calmly I pressed the button… closed the lid… waited some more…

half a minute later I opened the lid and tried again…

Staring back at me was a dark screen and a tiny arrow that refused to move, no matter what I tried. And believe me, I tried!

Girls had been dropped off at school, deadlines loomed, and there I was, in an unfamiliar town, on the verge of tearful panic, praying frantically.

Dear God… Dear God… What do I do? I have deadlines…! Please HELP… Please HELP… Please HELP!!!

I got in the car and drove.

The main thoroughfare through town wasn’t busy. So I went slowly, scanning both sides of the highway for a computer repair shop.

There HAS to be a repair shop in this town. But it’s barely 8:30 in the morning. Even if I find one, how long till it opens?

There on the left I saw the sign and veered across the road. Pulling right into a parking space in front of the store, I leaned forward to read the hours open in the window:

8:30.

YES!

One step closer to answered prayer…

I picked up my sleek, black Toshiba and went inside. There was a line—the first customer of the morning, and me—a very restless and increasingly desperate me.

Minutes ticked by…

I tried not to look impatient.

No heavy sighs.

No obvious changing of the leg positions.

No bored whistling.

And trying very much not to wish the man would hurry up with his questions, so I could finally step up to the counter to learn whether my laptop was still in the land of the living… or not.

The several minutes resembled too many minutes to my frantic self, especially since his questions weren’t nearly as life-threatening as mine…

But eventually Good-byes were said, and it was my turn.

I described the malady.

The computer geek looked a lot like a football player.

But when he started talking, he sounded a lot like a computer geek. And he got straight to the point—thankfully—without any detours or rabbit trails!

(The last time I stepped into a repair shop owned by a highly technological brain, I was held captive against my will for twenty minutes… Rephrasing my question numerous times didn’t help… Instead I was subjected to a monologue on his family genealogy, the pros and cons of every brand of electronics ever made, and the Vietnam War.)

But this techie explained the condition, while re-starting the system and changing the settings:

Second Tuesdays, Microsoft updates, batteries, fans and vents, tiny screws, and $12 cans of air… even inserting appropriate analogies to help my non-techie brain to comprehend what in the world he meant.

I know—TMI, he said.

No. I replied. That was just the right information. And very helpful. Thank you!

Out of a heart full of gratitude and politeness (you never know when I might need his expertise again) I asked if he charged for the information.

No—it’s not tangible—can’t charge for that.

Not tangible?

Not tangible?!?!

Then why did I suddenly feel fuller, smarter, richer than I did half an hour earlier? He had given me understanding—and in my mind, that was amazingly tangible!

We talked briefly about the snow and cold, exchanged names and shook hands… I said Thank you two or three more times, and then slipped out of his little shop… heart lighter, eyes brimming (yes, I cried—blame it on relief, gratitude, whatever you like), cradling my sleek, black baby in my arms, ready to start work.

Back behind the wheel, out of the parking lot and onto the street, I voiced my thanks again—this time toward Heaven.

Thank You, Lord! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

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