The Mayor’s Mother asked for some computer assistance, and I finally got over there. Low security, viruses with old definitions, spyware, nuisances like weather bugs, and a few actual system errors. Her computer is on a fast connection, but that doesn’t mean anything when it behaves heavy on Win ME. So I spent hours cleaning up those kinds of things before running into a problem with her Outlook Express program.
Although the account settings looked ok, it continued to reject the correct password. Keep in mind that this woman lost her daughter to cancer a few years ago, and has always treasured the few messages they exchanged. Over time she has acquired a massive amount of e-mail from friends and family, which is sacred to her – the reason for her computer activity, really. It only took a second to accidentally delete the identity holding years of records on her local account. Bloop!
Panic set in with a numb disbelief – reaction was the lack of reaction. The only clue, my eyes having doubled in size. Considering what could possibly be done, I remembered her Dell’s startup display briefly flashing, “Go Back”. Words cannot express the drama of weighing Flora Peal’s despair against my own shame, imagining her breaking the news to family members… over and over.
All I have to say, is that Go Back is a saint. The program booted like a cloudy portal, presenting me with several offers. I selected “go back to 5 days ago” and watched it reconstruct the drive in blue progress bars. To my amazement, it worked. I was even able to prevent several problems I’d tried tackling earlier. Her e-mail was still there! A few more hours catching up with repeated tasks, and her computer was fine again.
I scurried down her front porch stairs, thankful to get out of there with my life. She’d placed a crisp 5 dollar bill in my hand, unaware she’d paid me on the second chance. Holy shit. I came **that** close to the worst fuckup ever.