The room is dark. An eerie blue glow emanates from the computer monitor. Kevin's youthful face stares into the endless expanses of the screen. His hands make furtive movements. Click, click... Tap, tap, tap... His nimble fingers fly across the keys. A sense of epic importance hangs in the air. Windows open and close. Pictures flash across the display, the speakers beep in a varied array of tones, sometimes friendly, other times sounding negative.
Kevin's whole world is in this computer. His emotions ebb and flow with its electron tides. He sucks air into his chest and blows it out. When his cursor shows an hourglass, he in turn holds his breath. Facebook, blogs, favorite websites, all his pics, all his musings, e-mail messages dating back thirteen years -- the computer holds his memories, his life force. It's a bridge to the past, a highway to the future.
At high speed Kevin flies through life. Shifting back in his seat, he blinks and rubs his eyes. He squints at his grandpa's old wooden-framed clock that hangs on the wall above his IKEA desk. The clock's tiny hands spin around and around. Time flies. He pushes his cold plate of microwaved teriyaki rice away from the keyboard and proceeds to fasten his eyeballs once again to the screen. His pupils dilate and contract, dilate and contract. Life moves really fast on the computer super-highway.
Another hourglass pops up. Kevin holds his breath. The hourglass still spinning, he allows the air to escape from his lungs. Still, the hourglass spins. Pushing the cold plate of microwaved teriyaki rice further away, Kevin leans forward into the screen, as if the greater intensity of his gaze will cause his computer to respond more quickly. He presses the three finger salute into the keyboard. "Come on," he whispers. Control+Alt+Delete... Control+Alt+Delete... Nothing.
Suddenly, a fuzzy, static sound erupts from the speakers and the hourglass stops spinning. Kevin shakes his head. "What's going on?" he wonders. He taps the computer tower gently. Tick, tock... Tick, tock. He suddenly notices the faint sound of his grandfather's clock. A bead of nervous sweat cascades down his forehead and onto his nose. Rubbing it off, he taps the tower once again, a little harder... then harder... Finally, he bangs on it with his fist. "Do something!" he pleads angrily.
As if in response to his cry, the hourglass spins one more time. A glimmer of hope! Alas, the speakers utter an electronic groan and the monitor freezes solid. The blue glow of death shines upon Kevin's pale face. "But, but..." Kevin mumbles numbly at the computer screen.
Tick, tock... Tick, tock... A flood of regret washes over him. "Shouldn't have had all those programs going at once. Shouldn't have uploaded all those pictures. Why did I save all those old e-mails? Too much... It was probably just too much stuff. But I like all my stuff."
Kevin licks his lips, grasping for a wise thought. "Maybe if I reset the computer... But if I shut it off, who knows whether it will come back on?" Scratching his head ferociously, he reaches over and stuffs a bite of cold teriyaki rice into his mouth. "If I lose everything, I'll have to start all over." He winces at the thought.
"But, I love my life..."
Kevin counts the cost. What should he do? Should he leave the mess he's made on his computer screen, even though it's gotten him stuck? Or should he take the risk and reset his computer, in hopes of a brand new start?