Monday, October 01, 2007

Nightmare on My Street

Almost a year ago to this very day, I abandoned the (not so) ExpressWay that marred my daily commute — taking anywhere from 40 minutes (rare) to 2 hours to travel one way (I've had it take 3-4 hours when the weather is bad) — in favor of a single side street that was a reliable 45-50 minute commute each way.

I mean, on this alternative route there's only one lane 80% of the time, and the speed limit is always 30 mph (though in some stretches it's easy to get away with 40)... yet you're moving almost constantly, and are considerably less agitated by the time you arrive to wherever it is you're going. And, sure, occasionally there are problems and interludes of road rage, but those moments are few and far between in comparison to the "Express"Way.

The added bonus: if traffic sucks and you want a diversion, you have the opportunity to turn off every 1/4 mile or so, which compares to the "Express"Way where there are only 5 or 6 exits on a 20 mile stretch (in other words: if things tank... you're stuck).

After months of taking the "Express"Way, my alternative route bordered on a godsend. I didn't look back and haven't bothered to take the "Express"Way since — excepting rare times when I was was traveling between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (a wide-open pocket of opportunity for comparably "fast" travel).

But, alas, my solace is no more.

You see, the "Express"Way is undergoing construction... a minimum of one lane down in both directions at all times — and two out of three lanes down late in the evening.

They're telling people to not even bother taking the "Express"Way, and this morning as early as 5:50 a.m., traffic was already in the red.

How does this impact me, you ask, since I don't take the "Express"Way?

I'll give you one guess as to the officially sanctioned alternative route for people traveling from my section of the city, and heading anywhere in the same general direction.

Yes. That's right.

I left 15 minutes early today and was still 15 minutes late.

Now, before you tell me I should take the train or ride my bike, you should know I would *love* to do either... or any combination thereof. But I live nowhere near a train stop that goes in the same direction of where I work, and between the transfers and buses and shuttles I'd take, that commute is estimated at just over 2 hours one way.

As for cycling.... I live 20 miles from work, and we have no shower facilities. Couple that with the fact that there aren't any nearby bike paths linking my home to work (in fact, I'd be on busy city streets about 1/2 of the time, and then dark forest preserves the second half), and that alternative isn't safe, either.

But that's not all!

The news just keeps getting better....

Three weeks ago I ordered a new computer, as my home machine has been giving me serious problems. I was even worried enough about it that I tried backing up some of my files multiple times, but there's a short somewhere on my machine, and it randomly shuts off, making it impossible to do anything.

But I got an e-mail yesterday telling me my new computer was finally on its way and I was ordering a new electrical cord for the old one (where I believe the short to be) so, never fear, I'll be able to transfer everything to my new machine in 3-5 days. Right?



Because, last night, all of my files disappeared.

All of them.

My master's thesis. All my old papers. All my stories, my poems, my e-mails, my pictures and my music.

It's all gone.

So much for getting a big hard drive on my new machine. Looks like I don't have anything to put on there.

And, now, before you tell me I'm over-reacting and it's no big deal....

I'm a writer. A photographer and, above all other things,

A sentimentalist.

I'm just hoping the Geek Squad can help without causing too much financial damage (though, honestly, I'll "charge" whatever it takes). Cause between the new car, computer and camera (why does everything have to break at once?!!)... I may just have to cut food, health care and Christmas out of my budget.


disgruntled world citizen said...

all your poems and stories? oh, man, that's a travesty for the literary world!

Unacademic Advisor said...

I hope no one offers you useless advice or you-should-haves. I hate that when I'm just trying to vent and all I really want is an ear.

So, here's my two. The rest of me belongs to Darling Wife, but you can borrow the ears if you want them. Or in this case, the eyes. I will need them back at some point, though.

Eli Edmundson said...

That really sucks! Hope things get better soon, good luck!

Meh said...

Nooooooo! No Geek Squad!! They're a joke from what I hear. Call Adam before you go to them, please!

radialrelish said...

That's so sad! You've made me really sad! I can't imagine...

ds said...

well, pardon the language (I'll probably get censored anyway), but fuck dude. very sorry. I lost a machine maybe 5 years ago that had everything (up until then) on it, minus a handfull of stuff that I'd kept printed out. OS error. no boot up. no remove disk. OS error. fuck dude. I understand and send you a pat on the back and a heartfelt everything will be ok. about 8 years or so ago an old friend of mine had all of his work in his barn studio in the country. coal fire. gone. including big black and white cat. make new.

and the traffic...

yeah, this a.m. I had to wait for like 3 cars at washington and hoffer before I could cross.

best of luck.


Franki said...

Overreacting? I would be typing in all caps and misspelling and using multiple tenses! Makes me wanna go do my backup.

How awful!

Beth said...

I am sending many Geek Squad prayers your way. A buddy recently had a break-in, and the bastards stole his Mac AND his external drive. Five years of photos and digital music ... gone.

Beth said...

If it costs a lot, start a blog drive. I'll throw in some bucks!

XOXO said...

Well, if it's going to happen to anyone, it'd have to be you. Not much solace, i know. My sympathy to you, and to those who've missed out on your works of art. Good luck with the geek squad. I'm sure they can fix it...right?

Pamela said...

I'm getting ready to hit the hay -- BUT, we were able to hire a company to retrieve our information on a crashed computer. It was a bit costly - but not so much that it couldn't be done.

AND,,, that random shutting down sounds like a virus and not a short.

hope it all gets well soon!

Stacy said...

I am having a full blown panic attack for you, right now. I like (whose idea was it, Pamela's?)the blog drive idea, I promise I'd pledge. Fingers crossed, sheezus!

XOXO said...

I drove the wrong way down a one way today. I felt like a deer having cars dart around me. Man I love the city. :(