Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Laptop Oblivion

I've been there.
No, not on a flight deck working on my laptop while 149 souls are cluelessly confident that I am flying the airplane. But I've experienced what total absorption in a computer screen can do.
It can cause a flood in your kitchen, that spreads down the hall to your bedroom and renders kitchen and bathroom cabinets waterlogged and hazardous. Admittedly not as serious as forgetting to land an Airbus 320, but serious, nonetheless. And very expensive. And really embarrassing.
One morning last spring I was trying to do too many things at once. I had a busy day planned. I wanted to clean up a few dishes in the kitchen before moving on to other things. I started filling the sink with water. "I'll just quick check my e-mail while the sink is filling," I said to myself. One thing led to another.
45 minutes later a background noise that sounded like a waterfall nudged my consciousness. It WAS a waterfall. As I ran to the kitchen, my shoes made squishy sounds in the hall carpet. Rounding the corner, I witnessed my dishwater cascading down the cabinet to the floor, as pretty and as destructive as you please.
Several days of industrial fans running 24/7 followed. I almost checked into a hotel. Blessedly, the fans were finally silenced by workers who determined they could now proceed putting me back together. Three large bookcases had to be emptied. Furniture moved. Cabinets cleaned out. Did I mention that I live in a 1200 sq. ft. townhouse? Every dry surface was covered with stuff. And I lost all my cookbooks!
Several weeks later, the $7,000 ordeal was over. The condominium association insurance has a $10,000 deductible per incident. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I had purchased "gap" insurance so my personal exposure was only a $500 deductible. However, the insurance company was not pleased that I had done such a stupid thing (my words, not theirs) and sent me a letter saying if I had any more claims they would "review" my coverage and possibly terminate it. You'd think I was a frequent claimant, to use airline parlance. This was the first and only insurance claim I have ever had!
So you see I can relate to the conundrum these two hapless Northwest pilots find themselves in. My consequences pale in comparison to theirs. But I can see how it happened.
I've been there.
Just a minute . . . I've got to go check on a noise.

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