Happy Gene, Happy Feet

Keep Calm and Carry On. It’s a very British thing to say, and I had reason to remember it the day before yesterday when the hard drive on my laptop suddenly died.  I immediately plummeted into the lowest level of computer hell, because I use that laptop for my lectures and all of my files are stored there.

This could have been (and actually still might be) catastrophic, since without the slide shows and notes, I can’t fulfill my duties on this and other assignments before my scheduled return to San Diego in May.

Backups—don’t leave home without them and indeed I didn’t, having backed up everything (I hope) in the Cloud and on flash drives.  But as I quickly learned, it’s not always that simple.  The ship has lent me a PC, but my files are in Keynote and Pages, the Macquivalent of PowerPoint and Word, and they can’t be opened on a PC.  I can’t access my files in the Cloud because I have to get to them via my Mac.  To make things worse, the extra big and powerful external drive that has the most complete master copy of all my lectures has suddenly decided to be Read Only, so it won’t let me do the simplest tasks with the files, including editing or even moving them.

So I was seriously stuck ( and still am). But I have developed a coping strategy in life to relax as a reaction to stress, and this enables me to bypass panic and terror until such time as I have been able to determine what all the options are. Then, if no good option exists, panic and terror are called for, but not right off the bat. After a few deep breaths and reminders not to freak out, I weighed the situation and figured out my options.

The first question I came up with was, “who are my resources?”, and I came up with quite a few, from the cruise director to the IT officer on board,  to fellow passengers, to techies in our next port (Danang), and even all the way back to Dan in San Diego, because my desktop where I developed all the lectures is in his study, holding its treasure trove of work. The Hail Mary Pass was going to be to copy them all on a flash drive and overnight Fedex it to me,

Sure enough, just with the people on board, I was able (after a lot of time and frustration), to find ways, using the cruise director’s  Mac and the Bridge instructor’s PC, to  reformat in Powerpoint the rest of the slide shows for this cruise  so I can use the ship’s laptops.  My  lecture today went off without a hitch, and I am ready for the others.

That will get me through this cruise, but what about the time at sea after this until I fly home in May? I have somewhere between 15 and 20 lectures I need that are trapped inside the failed hard drive.  Cobbling  together fixes for each one sounds just way, way too stressful and scarily inadequate.

I had two possible ideas for a solution.  First, I could try to replace the hard drive, but there was really no place I could do this in our remaining ports , and I was only going to be in Singapore long enough to get to the airport to fly to Siem Riep to visit Angkor Wat.  Them it is on to the Maldives, and day stops at ports in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the like.  No good opportunities seemed to exist for a quick fix.

Plan B seemed good. The Singapore airport duty free Apple Store has a really good price for a new one, so I thought I might pick one up and take it on my trip to Angkor Wat and work in the evenings on getting it running. But how would that work, if I am having trouble transferring files?

Worry kept me awake last night, and bingo—all os a sudden what to do came to me.  If I didn’t go to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, that would be too bad, and I would lose a lot of money on non-refundable flights and tours, but it would give me five days in Singapore, one of the best places in the world to solve problems like this.  I wrote to a certified Apple repair business in the city, and I have an appointment the day we dock, and they have already reserved the drive I need.  Besides, hanging out in Singapore while my laptop is in the hospital isn’t half bad!

My immediate problems are resolved, and a a flurry of cancellations and rebookings has set Plan B (or is it C or D?) in motion.  I am going to be okay.

But what does all this have to do with happy feet and happy genes?  I think I am just plain lucky not to be a worrier, and if I catastrophize for a while it is mostly to remind myself to dial it back because the worst possible outcome is usually highly unlikely.

The happy gene also causes me to count my blessings, and there are plenty here.  If this had happened after this cruise, my chances of being able to get it fixed, or even buy another, would have been pretty close to non-existent.  The happy gene also  helps me to be confident that I will get the help I need on the ship.  It’s a very nice gene to have, even if it doesn’t really exist.

And happy feet?  Well, yesterday morning, when there was really nothing I could do about any of it until people on the ship were available to help me, I took the shuttle into Danang and treated myself to a one-hour foot massage.  Maybe that poster saying “keep calm and carry on” should hav a foot instead of a crown.  Let the problems wait a while, I told myself.  I’m busy relaxing.