Hoorah! A Very Nice Guy at North End Computers (Weaverville, NC) brought my laptop back to life -- while I waited. He says something probably shorted out and it could happen again but, for the moment, here I am.
I personally suspect that the short may have been due to all the vitriol that was flowing on a particular page on Facebook, shortly before the laptop went black. I was horrified and fascinated at the same time -- it was like watching a mob gather with pitchforks and torches.
It happened like this. There's a FB group for folks from the Appalachians. Someone invited me to join several years ago and though I'm "not from here," as they say, I'm interested in the stories about the old times and the pictures and recipes that are the usual fare of this group. I rarely comment or post but for some folks it seems to be a daily social event. And people are enjoined to stay away from politics or bad language -- unlike a lot of the FB posts I see (and enjoy.) All in all, a pleasant, G-rated sort of place to visit.
Until. Until one member posted asking if there were any other members of the group who were atheists, agnostics, or unbelievers who would be interested in a FB group for non-religious Appalachian folks. (There is a lot of JESUS talk in this group and that's never been a problem as far as I know -- folks in Appalachia are probably overwhelmingly Christian by heritage.)
Well, I think this person was just looking for a few like minds to chat with but you would have thought the Devil Incarnate had just posted -- at least according to many of the responses. (It's a big group -- well over a thousand members -- and certainly it was just a small percentage that got so ugly but still, it was kind of terrifying.)
The poster was told to leave the group, that she was going to hell, that she had no business asking such a question, that she was fat, that she had ruined the group for others, that she was an example of SATAN trying to lure away believers, that this was an example of the 'war on Christians,' that that believing in JESUS was a criteria for being Appalachian . . . (all done without any cursing or vulgar language, for what it's worth.)
As I said, it was kind of terrifying. But then other comments began to come in: other non-believers who were interested, some who said they'd been bullied by Christians all their lives, and some who were Christians and pointed out that this virtual lynching was far from Christian behavior . . .
It was, for me, a vivid demonstration of how many people fear and feel threatened by the unfamiliar. And it was sad, to see so clearly the hatred just below the surface -- and all in the name of The Prince of Peace. (In the thick of the verbal battle, one woman kept posting "Merry Christmas' over and over, feeling, I'm pretty sure, that she was fighting the good fight in the war against Christians and Christmas and really sticking it to the godless unbeliever who was threatening her (the Merry Christmas woman) own beliefs.)
I'm shaking my head and thinking, it seems to me that if your faith is threatened by someone else's non-belief, you never had much faith to begin with.