Saturday, October 25, 2008

When You Hear the Buzz, Don't Hesitate!

What is it about human nature that makes us repeat our mistakes over and over and over again? Sometimes I truly marvel at my ability to shoot myself in the foot.

If you've been reading my blog recently, you know that my house was burglarized and my laptop was one of the items that was stolen. I had to purchase a replacement and reinstall and reconfigure my 'universe.' It was complicated by the fact that I didn't have the old computer sitting next to me to refer to as I tried to remember what I needed to install, and what settings I needed to change. It took me a good 2 days to restore my system to the place where I, once again, had everything I needed in it's place.

I was obviouusly eager to get this computer back up and running. For one thing, it truly is the center of my operational universe! I can't get very far in my functioning without it! Also, with each part of my life that I restore to 'pre-burglary' status, I put that experience a little further behind me. Those two motivations propelled me to accomplish the task as quickly as possible.

There was only one little problem. From the first time I turned on the machine, I had noticed that I had an intermittent noise emanating from the computer itself. It sounded a little like a bee trapped in a jar. Ok, well, maybe it was a little more 'mechanical' than that. The noise occurred at least a time or two every hour. At first I wasn't sure if it was coming from the computer itself, or the media base/docking station I had it in. It might have been coming from the cooling pad that the machine sits on. Whatever it was, instead of dealing with it immediately, I barrelled ahead in setting up the machine.

Over the next couple of weeks I determined that it was, in fact, coming from the computer, most likely the hard drive. I had suspected that immediately, but in my rush to 'get back to normal' I ignored my intuitive flash and pressed on.

I finally called Dell a few days ago, and lo and behold, they too suspected the hard drive and shipped me a new disk drive overnight. I was to replace the drive myself and return the defective one to them.

This is a relatively easy mechanical procedure, although I needed help to accomplish it!

What this means, however, is that I am now in the midst of the set up process... all... over.... again!!!

My willingness to deny the reality of the problem and plow ahead in setting up my machine basically cost me two days of effort. I'm doing all of those same procedures over again now and once again, doing with without benefit of a completely set up machine to refer to. It's easier this time, since so much is still fresh in my mind, but it is still a huge chunk of time that I really didn't have to waste.

I knew I had a problem. I was even right in what I suspected the problem to be. I knew that if I was right, the hard drive would most likely need to be replaced, and I'd have to completely set up and configure my system again. Yet, I somehow ignored all that information as I charted my couse. Amazing!

What is it that makes us, as humans, ignore obvious signs that are telling us what we need to do? We just keep going down the path we're on, because for the moment... it seems easier. Taking the easy way out rarely works. We usually end up having to take the longer, harder path anyway.

I must be on a roll with this pattern, because I had another example of it show up in my life this week.

I was traveling between two towns to get from one appointment to another. It was a beautiful fall day, with stunning autumn leaves in every direction I turned. I decided that I wanted to take a bit of a scenic drive along a local lake as I made my journey. As I made my way towards the scenic road, I decided to take a short cut and drive through a local park. You aren't supposed to drive through this park. They have very clear signs up warning against 'thru traffic.' It had been at least 5 years since the last time that I 'cut through' this park, but I decided that I would do it that day. Partly because I needed the few extra minutes it would save me and partly because it was a beautiful day and I knew that driving through the park would be therapeutic.

As I entered the park, I saw a sign I've never seen before. In addition to the "No Thru Traffic" sign, there was another sign posted that said, "Proof of paid parking required at East gate." Guess where I was heading? To the East gate, of course! Now, one would think that I would have just turned around at that moment and exited the park the way I came in. Not me. I kept driving towards the east gate, feeling annoyed at this new rule, wondering if it was true, wondering if I could talk my way 'out' of the park, etc. I got almost to the east exit gate before I finally chickened out and turned around. Now, not only did I have to take the long way around to get to my scenic route... I also had to backtrack my entire shortcut in order to do it!

I was a little late for my appointment because of this. Again, I knew 5 years ago that you aren't supposed to drive through this park. I tried it anyway, but the really important point of the story is that even after I saw the new rule and new warning sign... I KEPT DRIVING! Defiantly blazing ahead in the wrong direction, as though that would somehow make the wrong direction right.

Oh... my... goodness.

Guess the universe is trying to teach me a little lesson about paying attention and, more importantly, acting on the messages I'm receiving.

OK... I get it! Let's hope I do a little better on the next test.

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