Last week, on a fairly typical Thursday, I spent five hours totally naked.
Let that sink in for a second.
At 10.40, there came a loud knock at the door. As I stumbled across my landing, there quickly followed the obnoxiously loud vibration of my phone. I opened the front door to be greeted by a slightly flustered courier with two rather large brown boxes.
I couldn’t have been wearing a larger grin and I couldn’t have thanked the courier with more sincerity. I possibly could’ve been a little less quick to shoo him away, but I was child-at-crimbo excited.
I was about to build a PC.
I slammed the door, climbed the stairs two steps at a time and dumped the boxes in my living room.
Suddenly, a strange anxiety came over me. Ever get that feeling when you’re really, really worried that a numbness fills your bones and your joints ache? It has the same effect as a strong sense of sehnsucht.
My mind raced as quickly as my palpitating heart. Did I order thermal paste? Was my RAM compatible with the motherboard? Would the stock CPU fan be good enough? How the hell do I ground myself and become static free?
That last one worried me terribly. I had read many forums detailing how static was the mortal enemy of PC components. Some people reported having completely ruined their CPUs from not grounding themselves and building their PC on carpet. More worryingly, others reported having ever so slightly damaged their components from building PCs while wearing a thick jumper and walking around in sport socks beforehand.
Suddenly, I understood this guy:
I realised just how many electrical devices I had gathered since earning some of that proverbial hard earned cash.
I realised clothes were my worst enemy.
I realised my flat had so much fucking carpet.
I realised that all the radiators were painted.
I realised that, even with months of research, I was way out of my depth. Rodney King style. I wasn’t even sure where we keep the screwdrivers in my flat. I was as prepared as a chickadee being sent into space. Things were about to go tits up for sure.
A shower was the only thing that would ease those worries. I steamed up the room to sweat out the bad juju, blasted a video game podcast and had a little sing song to really chill myself out.
Oh, and I got completely naked.
I stayed that way, panicked by the nightmarish accounts of static. Like all you Google-doctors out there, self-diagnosing your slight illnesses and concerns, I went full paranoid twit.
Before I knew it, I was elbow-deep in wires and literally chained to my post due to the anti-static wristband. I only gave pause to stroke the pipe of the radiator – I really wanted to ground myself. All the electrical devices were out of the room or turned off. And yeah, it may be hard for you to even fathom this idea, but I went a few hours without a phone or internet connection. Who the fuck was checking my Twitter feed?
Putting the build together was pretty straightforward. Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly a few more ‘oh shit’ moments, such as the nasty creaking sound the CPU made when I secured it in its wee bank. It also dawned on me just how old I was when I needed to squint to read the tiny letters on the motherboard. Maybe it’s time to get reading glasses.
But it was pretty simple. I’d encourage everyone to give it a go sometime in their life. It’s quite empowering to save that extra few hundred you’d spend on a pre-built machine. Just do plenty and plenty of research beforehand. I’d been thinking of building a PC for a lifetime, but I’d also obsessively looked at different builds for the last few months. It was all worth it, though. The sense of accomplishment was awesome.
Plus, I’ll never forget the sound of my bollocks smacking the chassis as I cocked my leg on the dining room table to squeeze the motherboard backplate in place.
The mighty swing and satisfying tinny smack was totally worth all the money, panic and research.