Back at Last


It all started on a Thursday. It was my day off, and I was excited to participate in a Twitter chat about museums and social media. The chat was scheduled to begin at 12 pm. A little after 12, no one was tweeting anything yet. I peskily tweeted some questions. Was I doing something wrong? Where was the facilitator? Why wasn’t this heavily-promoted chat happening?

Then I realized: it wasn’t a little after 12; it was only a little after 10. My computer clock had somehow set itself two hours fast. Weird. And how embarrassing for me on Twitter.

Over the next week, the same thing kept occurring: no matter how many times I reset my clock, it was two hours fast. Then worse things began to happen – such as, my computer immediately shutting down, or not starting up at all.

I had a bad, and deeply embedded, virus. I was suddenly computer-less. At work, I could send a few quick email replies during break times, but given that I share eight computers with one hundred-odd other people there, I could not do much else. How could I blog? How could I tweet? How could I post pictures of my cats? I was well on my way to becoming even less relevant!

Way too much of my free time went to trying to fix the problem, and sitting at my desk while technicians remotely accessed my computer and tried, unsuccessfully, to make it work again. (I won’t go into that sob story, but if anyone wants a recommendation for a DC-area technician independent of tech support at the companies you might be calling to no avail, I can recommend the person who finally did fix my computer.)

But I also suddenly had all this time that I couldn’t spend playing Popword or reading the news online. I found it very difficult to unwind after work without a computer to turn to. I spent some of the extra time (while waiting for technicians to call back) rereading children’s and young adult books that I had read and liked. When the virus hit, I was rereading A Wrinkle in Time, and my overactive imagination fancied that my computer had been infected by the Black Thing. Now I am rereading The Golden Compass, and my overactive imagination is wondering if being severed from one’s computer is a little like being severed from one’s daemon.

Georgetown Waterfont Park

Georgetown Waterfont Park, with view of the Kennedy Center

I additionally visited one of my favorite places in DC, Georgetown Waterfront Park. The newest national park in DC, GWP has water and a labyrinth, two things I need perhaps even more than I need a computer.

A labyrinth is not, not, not a maze. A maze has choices of where to go, most leading to dead ends, and the objective is to find one’s way out. The challenge is that you keep getting lost. I would love to try a corn maze sometime.

The labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park

The labyrinth at Georgetown Waterfront Park

A labyrinth has one set path, usually with the end in the center. That path moves you alternately closer to and further from the center, as the crow flies, but following the path will eventually get you there. You need not worry about getting lost. Walking into the center and back out is a form of meditation. Different cultures have, independent of one another, created forms of labyrinths, and many labyrinths are found in houses of worship. Today, they are becoming increasingly popular at parks and in peace gardens. Coupling this form of meditation with beautiful natural scenery is something parks can do to appeal to that need for recharging that many visitors have.

Visiting GWP was one of the highlights of the last few stressful weeks. Meanwhile, I have settled into a consistent schedule at my full-time, six-month stint at the Capitol Visitor Center, and I am working around that schedule to put in part-time hours at the museums in Historic Alexandria. Moving forward, I plan to blog each day that I am not working or volunteering (approximately one blog post per week).

It is good to be blogging again. Today is the best April Fool’s Day!

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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4 Responses to Back at Last

  1. Diana says:

    Sorry to hear about your virus troubles… 😦 I don’t understand why the creators of the virus don’t use their talents for good rather than evil. At least you’re back just in time for this: http://m.blogher.com/nablopomo-soup-add-your-april-posts 😉

    • Diana says:

      Reading more about NaBloPoMo… looks like it happens every month and there’s a different theme every month? April’s is “poem”…

    • Diana says:

      Oops, just remembered you said this: “I plan to blog each day that I am not working or volunteering (approximately one blog post per week).”

      And sorry for spamming your post with all my comments. 😉

      • disciullo says:

        Spam away! I like comments. 🙂

        I suppose that if I get writer’s block this month, I can try writing about something poetry-related. I *am* writing a song parody about Gadsby’s right now as I prepare to give tours of the museum… :-p

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