Eleven years ago, my family and I were having dinner at my uncle’s house. It was a great time. The feast was delicious. My uncle’s wife is a master of the kitchen.
We left their house pretty late, for a Thursday night. Mainly because we only lived a street away. We were all exhausted by the time we got back home. So ready for sleep, halfway there already.
But we were soon wide awake.
The window at the back of our house had been dismantled. The whole flyscreen was taken off.
Our heart rates picked up instantly.What was going on?
Long story short, every room in our house had been ransacked. Except my elder sister’s room because they’d locked it before we’d left. Random. Lucky.
I think I probably lost the most.
Whoever it was had taken my whole laptop. I’d packed it up in its bag, placed it at the foot of my bed, as was my custom, what with my OCD tidiness. Serves me right for being tidy, I guess.
Well, not only did they take my laptop, but everything on it. I’ve been a writer my whole life. There were so many stories on there, I cried at the memory of them.
They’d stolen mum’s phone too, and we messaged it in vain hope that maybe they’d have a heart and return the laptop because it was so precious to this fifteen-year-old girl.
No luck. They had no heart.
Well, it taught me one thing at least – BACK UP YOUR WORK.
So I went out and bought two terabyte hard drives, and double-backed-up my work. I would never lose anything again. That was my promise to myself and all my precious work.
Two years later.
The end of year 12 brought with it feelings of nostalgia, as well as a need to move on, and declutter my life. I went through everything I owned, relived the memories of my schooling life, cried a lot (my tears come real easy), and kept some things, threw out a lot more.
And then I decided I was on a roll! Why not go through one of my terabyte hard drives, cull some of the stuff on there too. Nothing could stop me now. I was Marie Kondo, and this stuff sparked no joy!
That hard drive had everything on it. My five-year-old journal, all the memories of year 12 and every other school year, pictures and videos, but most importantly, all the stories I’d written in the past ten years. It was basically my portfolio, showing how much my writing changed over the years. Showing my whole heart and soul. It was everything.
Obviously, that I wanted to keep. Some other stuff on there needed to be culled though.
I had my new laptop under my arm, along with my hard drive. I was walking to the living room, but made a pitstop at the fridge to get a cup of water. I was being super cool, casual about it. The laptop and hard drive stayed under one arm, I filled the cup with one hand, drank my water, put the cup back, and then… my hard drive fell onto the cold tiles below.
All I said was, “oops,” not knowing that what had just happened was catastrophic. But I’d figure it out soon.
I sat down on a couch, got comfy, turned my laptop on, and plugged in the hard drive soon as I could. And waited.
I waited a little more.
Still, nothing happened.
My eyes narrowed. I ejected the hard drive, blew on it, plugged it back in.
And again, waited.
Again, nothing happened.
I was getting nervous now.
I tried taking it out and plugging it back in once more.
And that’s when I finally realised.
Nothing was goingto happen.
Somehow, I had broken my hard drive.
I was distraught.
You’re probably thinking, “didn’t you double-back-up?”
It’s a good question. Short answer, no. Long answer, I only double-backed-up one time, and then just neglected it. Not only that, though. I, for some strange, and exquisitely dumb reason, put everything onto that hard drive, and then deleted it off my laptop. I suppose it was because I didn’t want to slow down my laptop. So I just put all my important documents onto one very fragile, easily losable hard drive.
Because apparently, I didn’t learn the lesson hard enough the first time.
I told my sisters. They were very sad for me. It did not help. Mum suggested I go to a tech store and ask if they could fix it. That helped.
I knew of a store. I went there the next day. They asked to keep the hard drive for a while. I obviously allowed them.
They said they’d call in a few days.
The next few days were agony. All I kept thinking about were my stories. I wanted to read them all again. Suddenly, they were the best stories I’d ever written. Possibly the best stories I’d ever write in my entire life. And I’d never know if that was true, unless the tech people could fix it.
I held my breath for four days.
And when I finally got the call, it did not help me breathe easier.
They couldn’t fix it. I went into the store, and he started spouting some technical jargon at me, made me listen to the whirring of my hard drive, to its dying whines. It was torture. The worst news. Everything I’d ever written was lost to me forever.
I had finished school, and lost everything.
And that’s the end of the story.
Unfortunately, there is no happy ending. No knight in shining armour that saved the day. The dragon prevailed. Stole my stories, locked them in a tall tower, and nothing I did would give me access to them ever again.
It’s been nine years, and I still think about some of those stories.
Maybe if this had never happened, I would barely look at them. But since that isn’t possible, they’ll always be there, in the back of my mind. The stories with no closure, that died before their time.
Moral of the story: TRIPLE BACK UP YOUR WORK.
Tell me about a time a stupid mistake cost you something big.
Ciao 4 now.