2. Copy your messy .emacs file onto this machine.
3. Play 'catch the fish' with your cat whilst you look at the keyboard and type emacs
4. Go back upstairs to do stuff.
5. Realise that emacs's server hasn't started and don't think as to why that possibly could be.
6. Go downstairs, do M-x server-start without looking at the screen (because you're still fishing the cat)
I blame the cat.