By Katie Moosbrugger

A couple months ago I watched an episode of one of my favorite sitcoms, The Middle. Sadly that show is so relatable to me. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s Patricia Heaton who, no matter what character she plays, I find myself in her shoes time and time again. (Like in this post I wrote a few years ago).

Anyway this particular episode of The Middle was a train wreck (like all of its shows), and it was so horrifying to me that I could not look away. Frankie Heck, played by Heaton, sat at her computer (surrounded by her kids) and prayed ad nauseum for her computer to boot up so she could access her family’s photo library. The computer never came to life, and the one box they had of pre-computer family photos was nowhere to be found.

Frankie collapsed to the ground in a sobbing mess. She then made her family spend the better part of the evening (Christmas Eve no less) searching for the elusive box of family photos. I would totally do something like that.

This scene is my absolute worst nightmare. Something similar happened to a friend of mine. Her computer crashed and she lost the first six months of photos of her youngest son. The mere thought of this turns my stomach, yet I can clearly see this playing out in a future episode of my life.

Although I am on the computer most of the day, every day, I’m pretty much IT illiterate. If something gets stuck or doesn’t open, I go into sheer panic mode. I make my husband drop everything and focus on my computer problem. Suddenly my whole world revolves around fixing the glitch, and I don’t care if my child is screaming for homework help or for another roll of toilet paper. Nothing, NOTHING, is more important than my computer snafus.

And when it comes to family photos, this is where I’m most vulnerable. A few years ago I had a great set up. Every photo I took on my phone automatically showed up on my laptop. I was able to easily save it or transfer it to Facebook, Snapfish or our external hard drive. Yes, that’s the beauty of a cloud. However, when my daughter started using a device, our texts and photos were being shared with each other – so I took the genius advice of switching my phone to a new Apple ID. Voila! Just like that my photos stopped streaming to my laptop. I now have a gazillion photos that need to be manually downloaded to either email, the computer or the hard drive. Like that ever happens.

So now much of our family’s photographic history is in the precarious crossroads of my phone and computer.

That’s a scary predicament for me – someone who is constantly hitting the “remind me later” button when a window pops up on my screen to download the latest update, run a security test, or change a password. Aaah, passwords. Don’t get me started on that either. How is anyone in our day and age possibly able to keep their life straight and accessible?

It’s all a big, black virtual cloud hanging over me. I’m sure there are ways to make my life easier and more organized, but who has the time? I am a slave to the reality of an electronic life that I cannot control – or worse – try to control. If anything were to go awry, I would simply collapse to a helpless, sobbing mess like Frankie.

Am I alone in this? Can you relate?