He slammed his hands down in frustration. The keyboard rattled. The monitor swayed slightly on its pedistal. But, nothing changed.
“Blue screen of death again,” he mumbled under his breath.
The oft cursed adage about Windows products, “when in doubt, restart,” ran through his thoughts peppered with the colorful langauge he had learned long ago was not suitable for polite company but perfectly at home in his mind. Though he wasn’t currently in polite company and could have spouted off as much black and blue (bruises) and red (blood) as he desired without offending anyone, old habits are hard to break, and he found he could only rarely allow the creative combinations of four letter words from his mind out into the open.
Sighing, he leaned forward and used the index finger of his right hand to hold the power button on the CPU at his feet. The grey tower leaned back every so slightly as he pressed into it. After two seconds the spinning sound of the hard drive beneath its metal case disappeared and the blue screen on his monitor blinked off, leaving the blank reflective surface and nothing else.
He sneered at the faint copy of himself as he pulled his finger off the power button and sat back into his chair. He was not the man he had thought he would be. Not only had he never fulfilled any of the dreams he’d had in childhood, he’d also lost any resemblance to that exuberant youth. He wasn’t a copy of a copy of a copy. He wasn’t a shadow of his former self. He had turned into something altogether unrecognizable.
He knew it was time to get a new computer, but his old Pentium II processor powered machine was the last remaining tie to his old life. He had believed he would change the world when he first purchased the computer. Paid for with money he had earned on his own, it had been the inspiration for most of his dreams, for the goals he had set for his life rather than the goals his family had set for him.
His reflection laughed at him.
If he bought a new computer it would be admitting failure. As long as he could continue to fix his worn down desktop he could hang on to that last sliver of hope that one day he might turn his life around and reach some of the goals those first few years clicking away on it had originally inspired.
His reflection laughed at him again and he felt the corners of his lips turn up even further. The sneer had turned into a smirk.
He hated waiting.
The prerequisite thirty seconds elapsed and he leaned forward to reboot the machine. His finger depressed the button again and then quickly released it. The hard drive spun up with a few clicks and a few beeps. He straightened up in his chair again and watched as his reflection on the blank screen was replaced by the start-up prompts.
“Would I like to start in safe mode?” His left hand found the “3” to select that option on the keyboard and his right hand selected “Enter.” He could make that selection without looking at the keyboard anymore. His hands new the desired paths from multiple repetitions.
“Here I go starting over again… If only I could do that with my life.”
After some thought, while still waiting for the computer to boot fully, he added, “Wouldn’t mind the safe mode option either.”