The Worst Saturday

I woke up early on Saturday morning and opened my laptop as I’d done hundreds of times in the past. As usual, when I pressed the “on” button, there was an electronic click. Only this time, the screen flashed white before going dark again—not turning on.

It freaked me out, but I figured the weird flashing was just from an update that hadn’t properly installed itself, so I pressed the button again.

This time the laptop emitted a fizzling sound, and the screen didn’t even light up. By this time my brain was filling with thoughts like, “is it dead? Like, dead, dead?” and “all my writing is on this thing, it needs to turn back on now.”

A Burning Question

That’s when I smelled it. Something was burning.

I flipped the laptop over and stared as smoke wafted out.

I probably sat there for a good fifteen seconds before it hit me that the smoke meant that my laptop was on fire.

The first thing I did was yank the power cord out of my laptop, and the second thing I did was pray that the smoking would stop and the laptop wouldn’t explode in my hands. At this point, I had no idea what to do. Obviously pouring water on electronics was stupid, but what else could I do? My laptop was on fire.

While I was panicking, my roommate, Alli Prince entered the room. Seeing my pale face and haunted expression, she asked me what was wrong.

Where There’s Smoke…

I don’t actually remember what all I told her (I suppose my brain blocked out some of the memories), but next thing I knew, she was looking up computer repair shops in the area. There were plenty of places, but it was Saturday morning and we live in a small town. Only two of the shops were open on Saturdays, and only one of them had good reviews.

I kept praying and staring at my smoking laptop as Alli talked with a guy from the computer repair shop on the phone, telling him about my laptop.

When she hung up, she looked at me. “He said a smoking computer is never good.”

I had already come to that conclusion on my own, but hearing it from a professional made it ten times as terrifying. 

Luckily, the smoking seemed to have stopped by this time, even if the electrical burning smell was still in the air.

Still Burning

I packed up the laptop and cord, and the two of us drove to the repair shop. The entire drive my thoughts turned back to my original concerns. My novels, novella, and countless short stories and other projects were on this computer. If I lost the laptop, I’d be losing six years worth of writing. Plus, I’m attending a trade school for writing, so I kinda need a laptop to accomplish my work.

After we reached the repair shop, the guy asked me to explain what happened, had me fill some paperwork out, and told me he’d take a look at my laptop on Monday—which meant I wouldn’t be getting it back in time for school.

I didn’t say anything about the school to the man, but he must have seen the panic on my face, because he added that he’d try to look at it sooner.

I thanked him, and we left. Thirty minutes later, he called and told me that the start button cable was what caught on fire.

Apparently, the plastic that covered the wire had been slowly burning away for months. Looking back, I remember all the times the screen would randomly go black, or I’d get a blue screen for a few seconds. 

I always thought it was just because the laptop is several years old, but the truth is that it was secretly burning from the inside out. 

Mystery solved.


All’s Well That Ends Well

It took over two weeks for me to get my laptop back, but I was just grateful that I didn’t lose anything.

To this day, I’m still using this laptop. It’s old, has its problems (apart from the whole was-on-fire thing), and I’ll have to get a new one as soon as I can, but for now, it works. And that’s all that matters.

This nightmare scenario could have been a lot worse, but it wasn’t. Not only that, but I learned two very important lessons:

  1. A smoking computer is never a good sign.
  2. Always save a copy of your work on an external hard drive.

Before You Go…

What’s your worst nightmare when it comes to your writing?

Let me know down in the comments!

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