This morning, I sat down with my computer and decided to make a lovely photo and video montage about our year in Washington to send back to my friends and family as a bit of a Christmas update. I was having trouble getting my video editor to talk to the videos that I wanted to use, and I wondered if moving the folder I wanted back to its default location would solve the problem.
I did a good old drag and drop. My media library is about 24GB. It was going to take a while, naturally.
I messed around with a few other things. I went back to check on the progress. The “preparing to move” window had vanished, so I assumed I’d had success. I went to try to construct my video again. Still no luck. I clicked around, and saw that the media library hadn’t actually moved. I did the good old drag and drop again. It moved immediately to the wrong folder. Whoops! Drag and drop again.
This time, something a bit weird happened. It asked if I wanted to replace the already existing file. I rashly said yes. It thought for a moment.
Then everything sort of… exploded. A few things froze. My video editor announced it could now find media. My photo and video manager announced it could not find ANY. I tried to show it where the library was now located. “No, no,” Photos said. “There’s nothing there. And whatever that is that you dragged and dropped, we can’t talk to that. Terribly sorry.”
I panicked. I restarted. It was even worse when everything had rebooted. The treacherous media library was back where it was not supposed to be. There was nothing in the new location. And when I clicked on the media library to open it, assuming everything would be just as it was, Photos said it didn’t recognise it. Video said there was nothing there.
The only option it gave me was to use a different library. I wailed, spouted a string of expletives, and Cowboy peeked out from under his blanket to ask if he could help. No, of course he couldn’t fucking help. He doesn’t even know how to switch on this computer, let alone fix it when I’ve royally fucked up.
The moment of truth came when I checked the memory usage on the hard drive. The 24GB was reduced to a mere 1.36GB. I grabbed fistfuls of hair and cried. Photos, videos, precious records of our life this year that I had not yet managed to share with anybody back home, had just disintegrated. I had nothing left but what was still on my phone – which I had naturally just cleared because I had literally just transferred photos and videos to the computer. I had no way of rebuilding.
I am still hoping that InstaPort can salvage some kind of library from my Instagram account, but I started that process about an hour ago, and it said it might take up to two minutes. It is still blithely “processing”.
I took it as a sign that I needed to delete some stuff and start again. It was the only way to deal with the rage and horror of it all disappearing.
So, resignedly, I started a new Photo Library. Hidden in my Downloads folder were a few images and videos from our trip to Montana in the summer, but half of the trip has been deleted. There were a few photos that I just refuse to delete from my phone, and I’m glad to still have those. So much is gone. I had to sit and mourn for a moment.
I am just thankful beyond measure that I printed all of my pictures of Richard some months ago, feeling a need to have them in hard copy. I made a mental note to do that more often. Holding the little stack of square images, in a beautiful matt finish, made me think about how disconnected I am from my memories when they are stored in digital format. Seriously, this technology shit is supposed to make life easier and more convenient, but when my photos used to be in envelopes in my cupboard, I never worried about “losing” them.
I must be about to become that crazy old lady who harps on about the good old days, plugs a corded telephone back into the wall, and decides outdoor plumbing should make a comeback. Send help.