As I make this post, I’m back to De Café for the first time since my laptop incident. What a coincidence! Anyways, I’ll make sure not to spend more than the 1 hour I’ve paid for. Care to know the story behind my apprehension and fear? Read on!

Back in the days in Jaja Hall... a little over a year ago

On the morning of October 4th, 2010 I checked out of Solitude in Jibowu having lodged there over the weekend attending the Ford Foundation Youth Dialogue. I hopped onto the streets and was soon home. As soon as I got home, I dropped my stuff, picked my laptop bag and off I went to school. There, almost at noon, I joined my final year Design Project team members in continuing work on our project report. Five hours later, I was off. After about ten minutes of strolling and sharing banters with Idris, a friend, classmate and former bunkmate, it was time to part ways at New Hall. I took a left turn into the New Hall (Yem-Yem) Shopping Complex. Thirty seconds later, I was safely in De-Café, my favourite browsing spot in UNILAG, aside the comfort of modem-on-laptop hostel room browsing.

I bought two Swift Hotspot tickets (for two hours) and opened my hitherto hibernated laptop. As I was getting ready to have my seat, there was a spark (I heard the sound first). The next second, two guys in the corner where the Air Conditioner had gone crazy started rushing out… Perhaps, still living with the dread of the MEND militants who had bombed Nigeria’s capital in an attempt to ‘mend’ an ailing nation over the weekend, we all turned back and everyone attempted to exit the door safely. Perhaps, I still had Nkiru Njoku’s experience close to my heart, so I decided to save my laptop by holding it in my hands while I made a frantic attempt to escape imminent danger… Alas! Someone impeded my leg movement so I tripped and fell; my darling Sony Vaio Laptop fell face down! I got up, dusted my body and went through the door only to find part of the laptop casing broken. When I opened the laptop and turned it on, what I found was more shocking! The laptop screen was not broken, but the display was rather blurry! Gbam!!

I was dumbfounded for those few minutes. I couldn’t blame anybody, but just kept quiet. I showed the café attendant who could only sympathize with me. I had to sell one of my tickets while I eventually used the other to browse and check for a SONY accredited service provider in Lagos. Two days later when I visited Flying Dove in Apapa, they examined the laptop and told me there was no solution. They refused to give further details. I wonder what they wanted me to do with the laptop now. Throw it away? Never! At least, not yet – it’s three months shy of two years!

Two days later I got ‘Deolu Adeleye, a computer whizz and friend, to help recover my most important files. We connected the laptop to a flat screen desktop so I could smoothly operate and salvage my VIP documents (later I’ll back up the entire hard drive content). This guy has experimented so much with laptops that he is fast becoming a special consultant on PC matters!

Lessons learnt from the episode?

If you try to save your life, you may as well lose it! I had forgotten the Safety lessons at Ariosh Ltd. last year during my internship/industrial attachment. We had been told that if there was a fire incident, the priority was to come out alive, not trying to salvage some valuables. But we soon forget rules under pressure, not so? Perhaps, I should have tried to exit that café alone first, and then later think of getting my property out, right? Maybe, most likely, I would have left De Café with my laptop in top shape after browsing for two hours. But that’s past now.

Always prepare for unpalatable situations like this. Now I’ll be sure to back up as regularly as (twice) every week. I also imagine a family man who has just finished disbursing school fee, housekeeping allowance, grand parents’ allowance and all at the beginning of September only to bash his new car in a ghastly motor accident. Imagine the sweat that would spring from his pores. Yes, he survived the accident, but he now has a liability he most probably didn’t plan for. What if Junior just fractured his leg on the school playground or grandpa just fell sick again. So many things happen without prior notice. [It’s not easy to be a man (or woman) o!)]