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Virtual Reliance


I have always felt uneasy when something unexpected occurs with my computer. Even as I write this, I feel rather superstitious as I don’t want to mess with the tech gods and hope I am never at the mercy of the wares: mal, ransom, hard and soft.

That is why, even though no time is a good time to be without computer access, I am especially uncomfortable now – when almost everything we do to be separate yet together at this moment relies on some Wi-Fi and a password.

Recently I was clearing my Google Chrome’s history while I was still in the application and our communal 13-year old PC went black. (Like cars, we tend to keep computers a long time, useful as hand-me-downs from one to another.) Sure it wasn’t booting up fast (or at all) at times, but I spent an entire Sunday determined to run any diagnostics for the computer to heal itself. I even fed the disc drive, hoping to reinstall the entire operating system. No luck. A 2007 paperweight.

During this pandemic our computers are working as hard and as long as we do, sometimes from daybreak to nightfall with little reprieve or restart. I have actually shut down my PC to “give it a rest” as if it was an overtired child that won’t cooperate. And as for those IT guys that I call for directions or solace—I can’t think of a better definition for essential workers.

So far there is access. So far there is Wi-Fi. So far there is connection and communication and conversation. And even if it seems as if nothing is more monumental at this point than finality of the “delete” button – I will still try to “go Marie Kondo” on my electronic documents, videos and photos if they don’t bring me joy.

I was always taught the importance of self-reliance, then I was taught it was okay to trust and depend on someone else too. But it’s a new world and now I rely on something digital, not just someone and not just me. Don’t fail me now -- little computer and smartphone – because if I am willing to show my greater reliance on you, you need to maintain great responsibility for me.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.