Let us begin…with Laptops and the Library

And so here I am writing my first blog. Being one of those people who usually prefer to stick to the old fashioned paper/pencil combination, I never thought this day would come. But it has, so let us begin.

Why am I writing one? Well it could be because I’ve had enough of doing work in the library. I find the library a strange place – to enter into it is to enter into a foreign territory; one where conversations must always be in hushed tones, normal movements must be made noiselessly and the crime of using a free computer just to log on to Facebook is equal to murder. In my one and a half years at University, never before have I spent much time in the library – so why am I here now?

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It started with a laptop. Although I have never had the best relationship with my Samsung (“Hot Pink” in colour), when it gave a distressing cough and ground to a halt last Friday, I was devastated. Memories of painfully slow downloads, frustrated evenings when it failed to stream films any faster than in ten second bursts at a time, as well as the amount of abuse I got for having a pink computer faded into fond yet distant memories. I had loved it despite the fact that it was awful and picturing how life could continue without it was unfathomable.

After some urgent telephone calls to the 24 hour computer helpline, it was arranged that my laptop would be picked up the following Thursday somewhere in-between the very precise time slot of 7am and 11am. This was the first technology crisis of any kind with which I had dealt on my own, and I fell asleep that evening foolishly thinking how simple it had all been. This happy situation was not to last. The company (who shall remain nameless) sent me a friendly text the next day telling me that they would collect the laptop on Tuesday. This unsettled me but I was resolved to make myself free in between the hours of 11am and 2.59pm as they suggested, all was not lost. I spent all of Tuesday on campus sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping every time I received a text, waiting for the guaranteed warning message half an hour before their arrival. At 3pm I heaved a sigh of relief, and switched off my phone to do some work, assuming that I was right and that they’d probably meant to pick it up on Thursday after all.

Two hours later I was aghast, when I switched my phone on, to find a message from the mystery laptop man. He had arrived at my flat at quarter past three (an entire sixteen minutes outside of the allotted time slot might I add), assumed I wasn’t there, and left. After swiftly weaving through the automated “press 2 for…” options on the laptop helpline I reached “Darren” who politely listened to my concerns and assured me that someone would come on Thursday as originally planned to pick up the damned computer (between the times of 7am and 11am of course).

Today it is Thursday. The time is 1.32pm and I am here, in the library as I mentioned before, because I need to use one of the University’s loaned netbooks to do my work. This morning I got up at 7am and arrived here at 8am to finish a presentation I needed to deliver in a seminar at 9am. Early mornings are not my thing, and so when I set off for my seminar with my work completed, I felt entitled to congratulate myself on my dedication to my studies. I had succeeded in compiling a reasonably interesting document on Carmen Miranda, a Brazilian icon from the 1930s-50s, all without my own laptop. All that remained was to dispatch the broken laptop into the hands of a professional who could fix it and deliver my presentation to the class. Well done me.

Half way through my seminar I received a call from the laptop man who had arrived and was waiting for me outside my house. He hadn’t sent me the 30 minute warning text, and told me could I hurry up because he was on a tight schedule? Having previously warned my teacher that I might have to make a dramatic exit, I sprinted home to meet him, I was not going to miss this for the second time!

When I arrived 10 minutes later clutching the brightly coloured machine, there was no one outside my house. Nothing. A terse 20 minute conversation with another imbecile on the helpline called Josh revealed that they had given the driver my parents’ address back home in Essex, instead of the University one in Exeter which I gave them on Friday. The result was a stressed driver waiting outside a pink house in Essex, some 274 miles away from a flat in the South West of England where a furious student stood feeling defeated, out of breath and clutching a useless piece of technology.

I arrived back at the seminar just before it ended. The teacher was annoyed that I had missed giving the presentation that I got up at 7am to complete. She wasn’t the only one.

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Where is Ctrl Alt Delete?

And so that is why I am still in the Library, some three hours later, a broken character with no functioning laptop and no will power left to do any work. I am currently surrounded by fellow students who are all scribbling away furiously and shooting me dangerous looks because I don’t have a monstrously tall stack of books next to me. I have only a flask of now lukewarm tea, a cheese sandwich in a box, and a determined expression on my face as I grapple with the modern technologies of writing something on the internet. It is this terrible beginning to the day which has compelled me to start this blog, and this blog which I hope will compel me to do something productive today. Let us see.

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