Battery Critical!

December 16, 2011

I finally gave in and joined the e-readers of the world; I chose a Kindle (which is now cheaper than I what I paid a few months ago!). Actually I chose it when I looked at the stack of books I intended to take with me on a trip. It would be like carrying a suitcase full of bricks!

So I got the Kindle. A few times the battery has gotten a little low, and I recharge it, then sensibly (and greenly) unplug the recharger’s cord. Other than buying a case for it, and occasionally using it to read in bed when my hands just don’t want to hold up a book, I haven’t paid much attention to it for at least a month.

Today I decided to download a free story on Amazon, written by a fellow member of Women Writing the West (shall I name you, Marla? Too late! I did!). I took my baby out of its bright pink cover (the only color they had in stock; I wanted dark blue but would have had to wait indefinitely for it. Sorry, I’m in the “immediate gratification” generation), and turned it on.

Instead of one of the images I’ve gotten used to when it’s turned off, there were two big words on the screen. BATTERY CRITICAL!!! Oh dear. Where is the battery emergency room? Can I get my Kindle there in time, or will it need major surgery like a battery replacement? Horrors!

I called Acme Batteries and they said I needed to get it to their ER, STAT. I jumped in my car, Kindle with Critical Battery in hand, and drove through the snow a little faster than I should have, but reached Acme’s ER in one piece.

As I rushed through the sliding glass doors of the ER, the receptionist stood up and asked what the nature of the emergency was. Slightly out of breath, I managed to say, “Battery Critical!” I was stunned as the techs, in green scrubs, ran out with a gurney. They snatched my Kindle from my hand and took it through a swinging door into the actual ER.

I followed, but a little more slowly, and by the time I got there, my Kindle was lying on a bed with drapes around it. I stuck my head in, and the Battery Doctor, dressed in a white lab coat with an ID and an electrical cord hanging around his neck, asked me if I was the nearest relative. I admitted that I owned it. He turned stern. “Don’t you know that if you wait too long, your battery may not survive? Now go sit in the waiting room! Your battery needs all my attention!” With that, I was dragged out of the curtained area by a tech who led me to the reception area.

The receptionist asked if I had insurance for my battery. I stammered that it hadn’t seemed necessary when I purchased the Kindle. She put her lips together firmly, then said, “Hmm Hmm, child, you takin’ a big risk not gettin’ the INsurance for an important battery like this one! I’ll put it on the paperwork, but you may be in for a world of financial hurt!”

After an hour and a half of drinking bad coffee and sweating about the life of both the battery and the Kindle, the doctor came into the reception area. He looked around the room, and seeing me (the only one there), he said, “You’re lucky. Your battery is in Intensive Care, but it’s no longer critcal; its status is now stable.”

“May I go see it?” I asked, and stood up, which caused me to spill the dregs of the bad coffee all over my new winter white pants.

The doctor snorted and left, which I interpreted as a no.

Oh, it seemed like I waited for hours. I knew that somewhere my Kindle lay, its Critical Battery connected via a computer cable and a mysterious white device to an electrical outlet, a connection that should save its life, if the doctor was right.

Finally another of those techs in green scrubs came into the room, with my Kindle (and its battery!) on a wheel chair. He shook his head, and said, “Well, it’s finally up to green. Coulda been a lot worse. Next time, pay attention, and charge it before it becomes CRITICAL!”

The receptionist shooed me out of the waiting room, telling me that this time there would be no charge. Financially, that is.

I drove carefully home, through the winter early darkness (it was 3:30 p.m.) and snow, my Kindle, in its case, nestled in a warm blanket on the passenger seat. When we got home, I took it in, and, holding my breath, turned it on. Oh, RELIEF! My list of items showed up! I went through the 75 or so books and stories on my Kindle (don’t mock; when you get them they’re empty, and a lot of those books were just 99 cents!), and nothing was missing. Now I can get that story, and read a book!

Let this be a lesson to you as well, dear reader! Please recharge your e-readers before the battery goes CRITICAL. You wouldn’t want to pay for a heart transplant, now would you? So make sure you keep it charged, and then unplug that cord to save energy!

This may be a good place to add some writerly ponderings. I’ve heard via cyberspace lately that many writers don’t write — or read — blogs, because it takes too much of their creative time and energy, which they prefer to keep focussed on their real work. Well, if you follow my blog, you haven’t followed very far, have you? I’m doing well if I blog once a month. But for me, when I look at the computer screen and crack my knuckles and think about writing a novel, the blog can act as a pump primer. You know, get a little writing done, then the well will gush. I hope. And thus I blog on.