Monday, October 11, 2010

Flash-drive Fiction

I'm kind of obsessive, in an absent-minded way.

I write, and I keep copies of what I write. Back in the dark ages, I made actual carbon copies of my typewritten manuscripts (shut up--it was not stone tablets). I'd read that a fire will usually spare a freezer so I stored the carbons in there. Then we got a fair-sized safe, and I transferred my carbons into that. Soon my scribblings hogged much of the safe's interior, and my husband was thrilled when computers and floppy disks were invented. Usually I kept back-up disks at work, but right now I don't work outside the home, so what to do?

These days I save my files on a little thumbnail/flash drive stored in my purse. The drive is attached to a lanyard so I can find the drive quickly in the scary depths of my shoulder bag. That way I have my files on hand if someone requests a recipe, or if I want to work on my laptop instead of on my home computer. (A daughter's friend said, "I can't imagine my mother knowing what a flash drive is, much less keeping one in her purse." He thinks I'm weird? My grandmother carried a jar of yeast in hers.)

Okay, here's where the obsessive part comes in. (Refer to my first line if I've lost you. It happens.) Recently I realized that I spend a good amount of time away from my purse and computer. So I stuck the drive in my pocket as I went on a walk. And here's where the absent-mindedness comes to play. A day later I found the flash drive in my washing machine. Since I was finishing up the towels, the drive had gone through three complete loads, hiding in the front loader's rubber seals.


I should have known better. After I confessed that during a walk I had to stop at a neighbor's for a tissue for my runny nose (imagine such a person knocking at your door), a friend advised me to keep tissues in my pockets. Tried it. Picked soggy tissues out of laundry load after laundry load, so I knew my memory couldn't be trusted. That's the trouble with a bad memory. You forget you have one.

Why didn't I just slip the drive's lanyard around my neck, you ask? Well, because I already had one lanyard around my neck, an audio book on a little MP3 player, with earphone wires hanging down. Another lanyard just seemed--excessive, like three necklaces. Better obsessive than excessive, right?

Are you obsessive? To what lengths would you go to protect things that are important to you? In case of fire/flood/tornado, what would you save first?


  1. You're such a mess, but a lovable one. Now, you'll have to keep two flash drives, one in case, and one to use. I don't know how you'll keep up with the updating, though...

  2. My mother in law kept some extra cash and her important papers in the freezer. That's where I learned such a plan. She called them her "frozen assets! Guess I'm not so obcessive! I forget to put my manuscripts on a back up away from the computer! Thankfully, the computer hasn't konked out on me yet! I would be better if I were a little more obcessive. Sometimes I even have trouble finding my desk!

  3. Wow! Carbon copies in the fridge! Wonder what's for dinner has a whole new meaning, doesn't it.

    I'm not as obsessive as you, but I was looking for something this past weekend and found lots of saved material that I wrote eons ago. I've forgotten the premise of most of them or that they even existed. How about that?

    For the files that I don't want to lose, I email them to my gmail account. Since it's not stored on my laptop, I know I can access a fairly recent version quickly if I lose my working copy. I, also, back-up on flash drives, especially my photographs. I'm horrified at the idea of losing baby pictures of my granddaughter and other precious memories. I keep the flashdrives in a safe.

    And, yes, if the house caught on fire, my laptop would be one of the things I'd try to save after all living creatures are safely out of the house.

  4. I use Mozy Home, an online file saver. It's cheap and I don't have to worry about where stuff is. i do get paranoid about thunderstorms, though, and unplug everything computer/cable-wise.

  5. I love the visual of a stack of carbons in the freezer. :) I have so many obsessive tendencies they'd never fit in the comments section. If there were a fire, my laptop would be first out after anything breathing. It has all the family photos, our music, and of course, all my writing projects. I'm trying to remember the last time I backed everything up... Guess I'm forgetful as well. Where's that thumb drive?