When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless,
though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmer, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts; who
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."
25 August 2002
John Milton probably didn't have a computer (since he died in 1674), but I'm sure he
was thinking of me when he wrote the above words. My "light was spent" yesterday
evening as I sat at the computer, words flickering on the screen, realizing that the
monitor was on the verge of going out.
Then the world went black. My one talent lodged with me useless.
There's something just so....final...about a monitor giving one last gasp and then
dying....its pixels forever more winging their way to computer heaven.
It was 8:30. Compulsive that I am, I immediately went to the phone book, hoping to find
a store that stayed open until 10 (since I am at least 30 minutes from the nearest
computer store). Fry's said they were open until 9 and I actually wondered if I could get
there in time, but realized it was probably not a good idea to try.
Instead, I pushed the keyboard to the back of the desk and set the laptop up. I was
without Internet access for all of about 20 minutes. Not nearly long enough for the DTs
(downtime tremors) to set in.
I managed very nicely on the laptop last night, even transcribing some of a tape of Dr.
G's that I thought I'd lost (and what a thrill it was to realize that I had it after all!)
This morning, to kill time while waiting for CompUSA (which I always remember my friend
Bill used to pronounce komPUSS-a -- "puss" as in that white stuff that oozes out
when you squeeze a pimple) to open, we went to the farmer's market to get our mid-week
supply of nectarines. I have been having an absolute orgy of nectarines this year, for
some reason. I think it's because I'm actually going to the farmer's market now,
walking through the various stalls, tasting the vendors' wares, and finding the ripest,
juiciest fruit to put into my bike basket to bring home again.
But I digress.
Anyway, after we had the produce unloaded, I set off for komPUSSa in Sacramento.
Unfortunately, it happens to be at the same offramp as the California State Fair and
traffic was horrendous, so I cut through town--normally a slower way to go, but today,
I found the monitor section and squinted at all the signs trying to figure out what all
those specs meant. My technogeek method of choosing a monitor was to stand back and look
at which one looked the brightest and was in my price range. But that's what they have
clerks for, right? To help dummies like me make the proper decision?
But the clerks apparently sized me up as someone who wasn't there to buy and I couldn't
attract anybody's attention for love--or even for money. (Yes, John Milton had me pegged: They
also serve who only stand and wait...) I'm not sure if I was serving, but I sure spent
a lot of time standing and waiting, trying to catch the eye of some teeny bopper in a red
jacket who might come and help me figure out what monitor I wanted.
I would walk up to clerks who would turn and walk away, appearing to have some
important mission that just couldn't wait long enough to talk to the woman with the credit
card who wanted to shower them with money.
Finally I managed to corner some pimply-faced youth who realized I had him hooked.
"Which monitor do you want?" he asked, helpfully. "Tell me the difference
between these three monitors," I said, indicating the three that seemed to be in my
"That one is darker, that one is brighter, and that one is bigger," he said,
pointing to each in turn.
This is why you ask clerks. They always have the technical information for you.
So now armed with the proper technical information, I chose the brighter one, the clerk
went off to get the box, and in a flash, I was outside trying to fit a square peg (the
box) into a round hole (a Honda). Somehow the clerk managed to do it and I was on my way
home, with a brief stop at Trader Joe's for bran muffins and frozen edemame.
Getting the new monitor set up involved, obviously, getting the old one out and it was
quite a revelation how much dust had accumulated and how many treasures had remained
hidden underneath it. I felt like Lord Carnarvon excavating King Tut's tomb. I even
found another tape of Dr. G's that I lost weeks ago. (Fortunately, he doesn't realize I
actually lost TWO of his tapes because I found the second one before he had time to
question me about it.)
When I turned on the monitor, I was dazzled by its brightness. It's the difference of
night and day...or at least the difference of dusk and day. Maybe now all of those
journals with teeny grey print on black backgrounds will be readable.
But then there is the vision problem which may still remain a hinderance.
The bottom line, however, is that my light is no longer spent, but glows brightly on my
desktop and I am once again back in the land of the virtually visually unimpaired.