I wasted a whole day yesterday. Wait, no. More precisely, the day was stolen from me. By technology. And when that happens, it dampens my spirits…and I have a hard time getting over it.
It was a day where Murphy’s law ruled: if anything can go wrong, will. If you think something will be easy, it won’t. If you think you know what you’re doing, you don’t. And so on and so on.
Let me set the stage: I have recently set some deadlines for myself, in order to keep myself motivated and on-target with some projects I’ve been trying to or wanting to undertake for quite some time. I needed to take the first 5 months of living up here slowly…so I deliberately did not give myself the pressure of personal deadlines. I knew it was important for me in that first season of being here to take time to learn how to just BE. To reset my internal clocks, to deconstruct the idea I had that I had to DO, to check things off lists, in order to have purpose. It’s all linked to a previous blog I wrote (a few weeks back) about discovering a new way of seeing yourself and your purpose, which ultimately defines who you are – it’s that whole ‘you’re a gift’ thing…
So, I’ve been feeling lately that I’m in the second season. I’ve passed through the changing of the seasons already, which was a time of evaluation and intentionality, and have come fully into the next. What this season means is taking the time to concentrate on the things I discovered in the first season, and being deliberate about developing the things that presented themselves – during my time of evaluation between seasons - as being connected to my heart and soul in their present states.
So I’m now being deliberate about a few things, hence the deadlines. One of those things has been to get my website stuff ironed out. People always ask me for a website address if they want to recommend me as a photographer, or if they want to find out about my living room theatre project – and though I have had a website in the past, I didn’t really think about how it was connected to me personally, and somehow I never wanted to give the address out. It sat unused online for a year. I always meant to get around to fixing it. But I never did. Which was a good thing – because I gained the clarity I needed to attack the project with renewed clarity. So I have been working on building 2 websites for myself over the course of the last few weeks. During my time of evaluation and intentionality, I mapped things out to see how I could have a website (or two) that would give information about what I do (photography, theatre, videography, blah blah blah), without being disconnected from who I am. Without it just being a marketing tool to sell my services, which I’m really not all that interested in doing at this point.
So, that beings me back full circle to yesterday, the day technology stole. My deadline to put the sites up is this weekend. I designed them on a super simple design program on my Mac, which is theoretically awesome for working directly with a server to host it. I bought my domain names a few weeks ago. I have a Mobile Me account, which is this awesome service package Mac offers that gives you a million different great little features. One of those features is web hosting. Long story short, it wasn’t happening – I couldn’t publish (export) my website designs to post on the internet with Mobile Me (a common error for lots of folks, it turns out), so I decided to not be a cheapskate and pay the hosting fees with another company (which is kind of better in the long run anyway, because sites hosted with them supposedly get better results in search engine keyword searches). So I not only paid for my domain names (the ACTUAL www names), but I also paid for someone to host them for me (that is, to store the information on their servers and put them up for me).
It took me from 9 am to 2pm to just get that basic stuff sorted out, after much frustrated trial and error. But then I couldn’t upload my files to their server the way they had suggested. So it took me another couple of hours, and much forum perusing to figure out that I needed to download a different FTP client and try it that way. With that, I managed to get one of my sites up and running. Great. But I tried and tried and tried to get the second site up – to no avail. I called the host, waiting 20 to actually speak to a real person, and explained that I had paid for 2 sites to be hosted, but my account was only showing one. Turns out they forgot to add the second, so my FTP client wasn’t finding the second because it seemed to not exist. Right then, as he was about to put me on hold to check things out, my phone card ran out. And I can’t make long distance calls from my phone without a phone card. So I waited and hoped that he would just fix it even though our call was disconnected. No such luck. I tried on my own for another hour. Nothing. So I called a phone card company to reload my minutes. Apparently, they take 30 minutes to activate your account. So I had to wait. At the end of the thirty minutes, I tried the number that they gave me, and it didn’t work. I called the phone company back. It turns out I was given the wrong number to try from my area. They gave me a new one. Which also didn’t work. After the 3rd phone call to the phone card company, we got it sorted out. I called the host back, with 527 minutes to spare if I needed it. I waited on hold another 15 minutes. They fixed the problem (or so we thought) by activating the second domain name as a hosted-by-them site. Tried to get my FTP client to connect with them, still didn’t work. At this point, it was 6pm, I was angry, frustrated, hungry, and miserable… and some friends were about to come over for a movie. I decided to stop swearing at my computer and take a break. When all else fails, shut down and restart.
After a shower and a hot meal, I made one last call to the host, explained the situation, and he said ‘Oh, I know exactly what the problem is…you haven’t set up a blah blah blah blah’ and I said ‘well, no – the two guys I spoke with the last two times I called didn’t say anything about a blah blah blah’ to which he replied ‘well, of course you have to set up a blah blah blah otherwise you wouldn’t be able to blah blah blah’ to which I replied ‘ok, whatever.’ So we fixed the obscure super-embedded problem, and I had to wait another hour or two for the changes to take effect. And thus ended my technological meltdown, at 10pm. 13 hours, down the tube.
I felt disgusting at the end of the day – having squandered precious time sitting in front of a screen, being angry and volatile and negative. I don’t know what I would have done if I had gone to bed last night with no breakthrough. With no sense of accomplishment. At least I went to bed knowing that today would be a good day, because I would be able to meet my deadline, having worked out all the glitches ahead of time. But would I have believed that tomorrow would be a good day if I didn’t resolve my problems before bed? Would I have been able to reconcile to lost time, or the guilt that comes with having turned into a tunnel-visioned tech beast for an entire day? Hmmm…..
So now, I’m off to try to launch my sites. Wish me luck in exorcising the tech demons in this brand-spanking new day. It is a new day, after all.