Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Land of the Lost and Broken

This blog post comes to you from a computer shop that I had to trek halfway across Paris to get to. I'm sure there's internet cafés close to where I live but Google continues to give me nothing, so whenever I need to print something out, Eurostar tickets for example, back I go to the little computer shop opposite where Lauren lived last year. It's sad in a way, looking across the road and knowing Lauren and Drew aren't curled up on the couch, eating chocolate and watching Eastenders on the internet...

The reason I have had to make this miserable journey, which includes a stop off at Châtelet- aka the shittest metro station in the world- and a quick ride of the grimey RER, is because today is the day my laptop finally said 'enough is enough' and resigned itself to a still and silent end.

In a cruel twist of Fate, this morning my laptop was working unusually well, just like the good old days when the sound still worked properly and it could load a Youtube video in less than forty five minutes. As soon as I booted up, the internet connected and I received a Skype call from Claire, although after five minutes of me writing signs on a piece of paper and trying to communicate the sentence 'My microphone mysteriously stopped working a couple of months ago so you won't be able to hear me!' through the art of mime, we gave up and had a quick chat on Facebook instead.

After our chat, I started writing a new blog post and even opened my French online banking, with the intention of finally transferring some money back to England. It was going to be a productive day.

And then.

My online banking disappeared, to be replaced by dozens of evil little boxes that littered my desktop with sinister messages about my hard drive, warning me to do 'system checks'. Before I could act, new boxes appeared telling me that the RAM and the hard drive were damaged. The word 'critical' was flashing at the bottom of each grey box in red letters.

In between furiously clicking 'close' on each ominous grey box that kept reappearing no matter how many times I tried to get rid of them, I managed to open 'My Computer' to discover that every. single. file had disappeared.

Some of those Word documents are stories I've been working on since I was eighteen. Most of them were uncompleted and now I'll never finish them. There was also the full-length play I wrote in my last year of uni, the fairytales I wrote when I did Storytelling at the Secret Garden Party... Gone. Gone like the wind.

There is no Reason for my laptop breaking and there is nothing that can be done.

Oh I know friends will advise me to go to a computer fixing shop or whatever you call them, but I don't have the energy. I fail at every single thing I try and do, no matter how small or simple, I just can't do... stuff.

My laptop started behaving like a loon when my internet protection software ran out in September and at the time I had no money to renew it. But then I started getting paid from the restaurant, so I tried to renew it with my French bank card only, what's this, my French bank card doesn't always work online, for no apparent reason other than it mostly chooses not to work when I'm really desperate to use it.

This whole 'money thing' is starting to keep me awake at night, constricting my chest and making me feel dizzy with the worry of it. I HAVE euros in my French bank account. I TRIED to put the into my English bank account and it DIDN'T work.

Well, I tried to put them in Ricky's bank account a couple of months ago, when we all had to give him our deposit money for Ibiza. It took me a couple of weeks to get hold of my internet banking password, which I thought was hassle enough, and then I had to ask Ricky to ask his bank for his international RIB number, or something like that. I managed to navigate my way through the French website, with some difficulty. Eventually I worked out how to add Ricky as an 'international payee'. I put in his details. I selectd how much money I wanted to put into his account...

And then.

My bank told me I needed an activation code to put money into his account. Did I want the code sent to me in a letter? Or did I want it sent to me in a text message?

Text message, I clicked, obviously.

But then the website told me that, as it was first time transferring money online, I had to receive the code in a letter, which would arrive in twelve days.

I can't remember exactly what I did at that point, but I imagine I probably smashing things up and screaming.

So my point is, don't try and do things. Because it will never work.


So. I'm in a slightly bad mood today. Now I have to write a script for my 'théâtre in anglais' class, with the characters Batman, Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker, for ten years olds who can't speak English and no interest in doing anything I tell them. Talking of those classes, the woman who rund the business left me a message, saying she wants to call a meeting in a couple of weeks and she wants to give me some money for all the 'hard work' I've been doing, so she told me to bring 'all the receipts' I've been keeping. I haven't kept one single receipt so...

So that's fab.

You know when I was younger my mum used to say 'You don't deserve to have things, because you don't look after them' and she was right.


  1. Oh dear that all sounds quite stressful. I agree that trying to do any sort of banking in France is usually a long, drawn-out nightmare. I don't even bother with online banking or even a bank card that allows me to buy online. I have a basic account with a shitty bank card that works only in France and only in an actual store or ATM. I'm sacrificing convenience for my sanity.

    And I suppose you don't need to be reminded that you should ALWAYS back up your files on an external disk drive or USB key??

    Hang in there!

    1. Thanks for commenting! Pffft shoulda woulda coulda, that's all I can say on the subject of backing up!

  2. that is super merdique!! i had the same thing happen in december... lovely to have exams without the work you've been doing a all semester. hang in there!! or at the very least just get very drunk :)

    1. Thanks, yeah at least I don't have any Exams I suppose. Thanks for commenting!

  3. near daumesnil metro there are a whole bunch of chinese stores that can fix/replace and sell computers. my light on my laptop died and it was 25euros to replace there! they're all chinese and speak english pretty good. they also have some good deals on used laptops, especially if you want an english keyboard and english system! maybe they can pull your files off your harddrive for you. being computerless sucks and i'm so sorry!

    1. Cheers for that I think I will go to this daumesnil place, as soon as i can summon up the energy... thanks for commenting!

  4. Bloody hell, "Magic strippers" has screwed up again.....

    But while I'm here, Carbonite (when you get a new PC) is good for backing up your files on the internet. You don't have to do anything, it just does it all for you (except you might have to tell it what you want to back up)

  5. and for next time 'AVG free' (search in google) is good, free, anti-virus software :) maybe ask the fam if they can help contribute towards a new laptop? optimistic i know..

    1. Ha ha no that's ridiculous, but thanks anyway!!

  6. Hi, This is very common. But possibly just an undesirable you have downloaded. Generally if your hard disk has died then you won't get such a message as the machine won't be able to do such a thing.

    DON'T pay for antivirus software. Try Avast from here:

    And then, just to carry out further checks try:
    This is really good at speeding up a slow machine;

    Above all: BACK UP and then, when you have backed up, BACK UP again elsewhere. If your stuff is valuable it's a no brainer.

    Good luck

  7. Get a grip of yourself, get Kayt and go to a laptop repair shop and price a repair. Come on my love this is not truly difficult stuff to do. I am also sending sympathy but I have less than the people above as i know that you will do nothing about it and continue to moan for the rest of your life - So Pep talk ! Go and get it sorted. love you

    1. Thanks Amy, I'd like to point out that I had snapped myself out of it before your comment, I 'm not really a miserable bitch.