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  It was getting late. The sun had almost gone down and eight-o’-clock was approaching. Junior sat in my lap and I scratched his chin. 
“All right, buddy,” I said. “Looks like it’s time for bed.” 
I clicked on the Windows 8 power button and selected ‘shutdown.’ My computer did nothing. That’s peculiar, I thought. I clicked on ‘shutdown’ again. The computer continued to not shut down. Huh. I tried again. And again. I brought up the task manager to see if some program or process was keeping everything from turning off. Nope, didn’t look like it. I absently stopped scratching Junior’s chin. Junior slowly moved one of his paws to my forearm and gently stuck a claw in it to remind me that this was not good behavior. I resumed scratching his chin. I resumed clicking ‘shutdown.’
Because I am a highly trained, highly paid, IT professional with all kinds of computer-related knowledge I did what came naturally next: I held down the power button for five seconds and forced the computer off. Then we went to bed.
When four-o’-clock rolled around I got up turned on the computer, fed Junior, fed the birds, and turned on the coffee maker. Then I noticed that the bedroom was a bit bluer than usual. And there was a steady red light inside my computer case.  Huh, I thought. That’s odd. I looked at one of the monitors and saw the Windows 8 loading screen with the circle of dots spinning around. And around. And around. I changed the bird’s water. I went back to the computer. Still with the Windows logo and spinning dots. I forced it to shut down and started using the laptop.
I acted like I didn’t really care but deep in my brain it annoyed me that my main computer had decided to quit. I tried to think of what had happened to it and the only thing I could think of was that the SSD drive had given up. I’ve never really trusted SSD drives because they have a limited life span. Sure, regular hard drives do also but SSDs just seem so much more frail. The more you write to one the shorter its life is. Just like memory cards and USB drives, although I never worry about those. Then I started to think about how my friend, John, would take this news especially since I told him that I never had a problem with Windows 7 or Windows 8. He didn’t believe me but it’s the truth.
But now I had a problem with Windows 8.
In some ways, having a computer give up the ghost and life are similar. I have a lot of data and programs on that drive, you see. Most of it I don’t use. It just sits there because someday that program might come in handy. Not today; probably not tomorrow, but someday it might. I don’t uninstall it even though there’s absolutely nothing stopping me from re-downloading it in the future if I need it. Likewise, I have a lot of program installers saved despite knowing full well that if I need to re-install any program then it will have been updated several times since I originally put it on the computer and I’d be better off downloading a new installer. To me, a hard drive is like that scary kitchen drawer where all manner of things end up and nobody ever knows how it got there. A funny bottlecap, a key to a lock that is no longer on the premises (if it ever was), the steak knife with a broken handle that nobody uses but sticks around because it’s part of a set… That’s my hard drive.
Then the hard drive gives up and I’m forced to re-install the operating system and the programs that I actually use while leaving the rest out. It’s being forced to clean house and start over fresh. That’s very much like where my life is now. Everything in my life changed about four years ago and, instead of getting rid of everything in that drawer, I brought it with me. And then added more junk. Today I’m on the job hunt again and I feel like maybe it’s time to start over again. Wipe my life clean and re-install.
Then I remembered that last night I had put a micro-SD card in an SD adapter and then put that in an SD-Card reader which I plugged into my computer. Because I wanted to see what was on it. Because it was, inexplicably, in my kitchen drawer. Windows never picked it up as a device so I assumed it was broken and then forgot about it.
  I unplugged the SD card reader from the computer and hit the power button. Within a few seconds my computer was booted back into Windows 8 and everything was working fine. I suppose there’s a lesson in here, somewhere. 
Perhaps my life isn’t as broken as I think it is? Maybe I just need to get rid of one busted part so everything will start working again? Maybe I’m reading too much into a mundane situation?
Ha! Like that ever happens.
 
What does any of this have to do with NaNoWriMo or even writing? Not a damn thing. Or maybe everything. Everyone says you should “write what you know” and that can be a problem for people, like me, who don’t know anything. So consider this my gift to you: a bunch of ramblings you can use for your next homeless drunk character.

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