If it’s not the best e-mail you’ve ever written, it’s in the Top 3. The recipient (mom, significant other, best friend, etc.) is in for a spectacular read. You spent hours poring over its myriad descriptions, explanations and terminology. It’s a legitimate piece of travel literature. You’re just about to put the finishing touches on it and FIZZT! The power cuts out. Everybody in the Internet cafe lets out a collective shriek.
You gasp. Your heart races. Your pupils dilate. Your face is flushed with heat and beads of cold sweat percolate upon your forehead. Nooo!! It can’t be. It’ll still be on the screen when the computer turns back on.
Please, please be there. But you know it won’t be… It isn’t. (Insert expletive here), it’s lost.
You didn’t save it. This isn’t the first time this has happened. You typed out an entire eight-page report about “Pandas,” at the last minute, on WordPerfect back in the 6th Grade, didn’t save it, and the computer froze. Gone forever.
So now, just like back then, you’re at a crossroads. Do you start it over again right away, just hack it out and who cares if it’s not as good, it’s still fresh in your mind and fuck it, you’re getting this thing done (you got a good grade on “Pandas,” after all) or do you pack it in, flee the Internet cafe, get drunk and forget about it?
As you contemplate both outcomes, the Internet credit you prepaid for is ticking away in the bright blue rectangle on the bottom right of your screen. Fuck. It’s almost midnight and you’re exhausted. Why didn’t you just write the e-mail in Word (saving it intermittently) and copy it into an e-mail once you were ready to send, like that South African dude told you to do after the same thing happened to him?!
It’s lost. You cannot resurrect it or rebuild it to its former glory. All your friends are already at the Irish Pub down the street and that Swedish babe you’ve been dying to screw is gonna be there… Your eyes wander, scanning for sympathy, but nobody looks over at you. The place is full of backpackers staring into glowing monitors, hunching over keyboards, typing rapidly. A couple people are visibly crestfallen – heads hanging, pulling at their hair. They didn’t save theirs either. Hey, concentrate. You’re going on a three-day hike into the mountains tomorrow and the bus leaves at 5 a.m. Mom/Significant Other/Best Friend hasn’t heard from you in weeks and is trying not to appear worried sick about you, as indicated by his/her previous e-mail (Subject: hey stranger). Write something.
You slap a new message together haphazardly. This will have to do. What was once gorgeous, flowing prose is reduced to point form. You hit send and the monkey is off your back. With a clear conscience, you make a beeline for the Irish Pub to lament your original draft. Over flaming Sambucas, you tell everybody what just happened to you and you’re met with nodding heads. They get it. It’s happened to them before, too.
And adding insult to injury: The Swedish babe already left to go to bed.