Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong? It all started after my son borrowed my camera for his vacation. In preparation for a writer’s conference, I wanted to be sure I had fresh batteries and emptied the SD card of my son’s photos.
I slipped the SD card into the jump-drive-transfer-thingy that plugs into my USB port to download his pictures to my new MacBook. It said the card was empty. I slid it back into the camera and checked. It wasn’t – I could see the pictures in the display window!
I figured the SD card or the jump-drive-transfer-thingy had died. So I went to one of those big electronics stores and told a salesman I needed a new SD card and jump-drive-transfer-thingy. Yes, I realize that’s not the real name; no, I don’t know what the real name is. I just use it.
I just wanted a new "thingy"
“What size SD card do you want?”
That should have been my first clue, but what do I know? “What sizes are there?”
He showed me 4 GB and 8 GB. I don’t take that many pictures, so I got the 4 GB. Then I asked to see the jump-drive-transfer-thingies. It turned out they didn’t have the same kind I had that plugged into a USB port.
“No,” he said. “That kind kept breaking. That’s probably what happened to yours. Now they’re connected with a cord.”
Although I was sure mine hadn’t broken the way he said, I bought the new one. Naturally, this new one cost about 4 times what the old one did. That should have been my second clue.
I got home and put the SD card into my camera and it asked, “Format the SD card?”
I pressed YES.
It said NO.
I pressed YES.
It said NO.
I threatened it.
It ignored me.
No matter how hard I tried, the silly thing wouldn’t format. It wasn’t any good.
Clenching my jaw, I gathered up my SD card, the packaging – you know, that hard plastic stuff I had all but shredded removing the stupid SD card – and my receipt and headed back to the store. Did I mention this is a good 18-mile round trip?
But this time, I used my noodle. I took my camera with me, so I could prove what it said.
There’s a man who stands by the entrance and puts stickers on any item you bring into the store. I told him that something was wrong with the SD card. He took it, looked at my camera and said, “This is the wrong one.”
He brought me the right one. At that point, I wasn’t about to not ask questions. “Will the transfer thingy work with my laptop? I have a new MacBook.”
“Absolutely. It works with everything.”
Nothing works with everything
Once all the necessary paperwork for the switch had been completed, I went home. I checked the SD card first. Hey, I’m no dummy. It worked. So, I proceed to try to open the package for the transfer thingy.
As I’m looking for a way to open it, I read its official name. It’s a Mini Memory Card Reader. “Thingy” was so much easier. After more surgery to remove the plastic packing (bleeding was involved), I tried to plug the cord into my laptop.
No go. The end didn’t match any of the ports in my MacBook. Terrific. It’s not Mac compatible. I headed back to the store. The guy who stood at the door wore a distinct look of déjà vu.
I pulled out the mini card reader and explained the problem, showing him the cord end. He sucked in his lower lip, swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down, picked up the other end of the cord with the USB connector and showed it to me.
A talent to amuse -- geeks anyway
Thoroughly humiliated knowing the geeks will laugh about me in the break room, I slinked out the door and drove home. Not only had this cost me 3 or 4 trips (not to mention the damage to my pride), the old card reader only cost $7 and simply plugged into the USB port, no cord involved. It downloaded its own software stuff and worked for me. No mess – no bother – and all at a low price.
From here it gets crazy
When I got home, I plugged the cord in – correctly this time. Then I noticed the package contained a small software disk. I guess they were trying to justify the $34.95. That should have been my third clue.
The disk was much smaller than a normal one and looked like one of those MP3 disks. I wondered, but what do I know? My old laptop had a little CD/DVD drawer. I pressed a button, it opened, and I set the disk on it and closed it. It didn’t care what size of disk.
I figured that’s how all computers were. So I pushed the little disk into the side of my MacBook – gently. Look, I may be a techno-doofus, but I’m not dumb. I know not to force things.
It went in, but I didn’t hear that noise it normally made when I pushed a CD in. In fact, nothing happened.
An unhappy 'What if?'
Great. Now I have a camera that works with a slick new SD card and no way to download the photos. A software disk is stuck in my MacBook – my new MacBook. Naturally, being a fiction writer, all kinds of "what if" scenarios went through my head.
They’d have to ship it off somewhere, probably India, and I’d be without a computer for 6 to 8 weeks. Only another writer could understand the horror I faced. I began to tremble as I collected everything and headed back to The Store.
With each rotation of my car’s wheels, a mantra kept repeating in my head. My brand new MacBook. That’s only 3 ½ months old. That has a disk stuck in it. A disk they told me to buy.
I walked into the store, telling myself to smile. I tried. The door dude frowned as he stared at me. Didn’t he ever take a break? I developed a twitch in my right eye. He sent me over to customer service, where a computer nerd would help me.
While the kid, who was probably all of 12, worked on it, I prayed. He tipped it over, pressed buttons, and even tried to pull the disk out with a business card and tape. He was very nice, but unsuccessful. I was shaking and close to tears. I couldn’t be without my computer for weeks. I had a manuscript to finish. I couldn’t tweet! Or blog! The enormity of the situation was devastating.
An Apple (store) a day...
Then a small glimmer of hope fluttered when he suggested the Apple store at the Mall – the mall that was across the street. I picked up my MacBook and left, blessing my husband for his intelligence in choosing to live in a community with such close proximity to an Apple store.
By the time I walked in, my emotions were frazzled. Tears stung the back of my eyes, threatening to fall. No one understood the catastrophe I faced if the disk couldn’t be removed. I had brand new writing software, waiting to be installed, and a proposal to send.
A young man walked up to me. With a wobbly voice, I explained what happened. He nodded. “No problem.” His smile held such confidence I began to hope. He asked my name and told me he was Nick, and he’d take care of me. Nick, I’ve always liked that name.
Nick took my MacBook and walked into the back room, which looked suspiciously like a phone booth. Hmm. Now that I thought about it, he did have a sweet Clark Kent smile and … whoa, all this techno whoopdiedoo was starting to get to me.
Focus, girl, focus.
I zeroed in on a mini-LED keychain display, but before I could snatch one of the shiny little buggers off the hook to play with, Nick returned – with the disk in one hand and my MacBook in the other. Wait a minute – the curtain to the back room. Was that a … cape?
Okay, so it wasn’t really the King of Krypton who saved the day for me, but doggone; anyone who can fish out a mini CD from my DVD drive without ROFLOL is a hero in my books.
© Ane Mulligan, 2009