ode to a laptop

My
whole life, as it turns out, is on my laptop. Everything that I consider to be
vital to my health, happiness and well-being is all tied up on my hard drive,
sitting on my desktop, filed away in my My Documents folder. Photographs and
emails, saved IM conversations, to-do lists, stories, notes to myself, my
novel. My whole identity, wrapped up in my laptop and not especially well
backed-up, I realized, when my laptop–my battered, grungy, oft-dropped and
totally neglected laptop sputtered, choked and died on me this afternoon, along
with my heart.

My
advice to you, kids, is back up your
files, for god’s sake, you moron.
That "you moron" part is just
especially for me, the moron who can still taste her heart at the back of her
tongue, from when the noise came–that horrible, whining noise you never, ever
want to hear a piece of electronics make–and then the screen went black and
then all was ashes, ashes, we all fall down. And beat our heads against the
floor and maybe cry a little because the last thing you need, when you’re
supposed to be creating your livelihood via the power of your mind aided by the
magical computer/Internet technology combo, is to have one of those things crap
out on you. Interestingly, the mind went shortly after the computer.

I
panicked for awhile, tried to reboot, tried again, and again, jabbing at the power
button, and then said okay, we’ll just walk away for a minute why won’t you
start up I hate you I hate you I hate you! I set the laptop aside. I walked out
of the room. I came back in, and put it under the couch, and walked back out,
because I didn’t want to accidentally see it. I paced. I pulled out a phone
book and felt like a caveperson hunting emu, with all that weird papery-looking
things up. How did those poor primitives do it, back in the dark ages? How did
we not go extinct? Paper cuts, man. They are deadly.

The
book, however, was spectacularly helpful, and led me to a computer repair shop,
which I actually had to call which
was just weird. And they said "Yes! Bring it on by, your precious lovey
baby honey bear which we will restore to its previous pristine and perfect
shape!" I totally believed them, too. "Okay!" I said joyfully!
"I will be there–" in six hours, when someone with a car will be
available to take me. Awesome. So I spent the afternoon without the Internet. Weird. And I started an afghan and began
to weave on a loom and then I churned butter and watched television by
candlelight.

I
cannot believe how at loose ends I felt without a computer–that’s not a
surprise though, is it? I mean, we all know how technology has transformed the
minutiae of our lives and has even enslaved us with its convenience and
availability and ease of use and total wonderfulness. And everyone is always
surprised when they find out exactly how much time they have spent on the
computer, frittering away their lives that used to be filled with hobbies and
children and yoga. I imagine that once you find that out, you go off and try to
remember your kids’ names and dig out your glue gun to make a yoga scrapbook.
Me, I just kind of wandered around the house. I picked things up, and then I
put them back down again. I heaved a heavy sigh, and then another one, to
express my feelings properly.

Not
just bored, though, or suffering the effects of having whittled down my
attention span to a nubbin-sized kernel of What? In mourning. What if my hard
drive could not be recovered? That is a nasty, nasty feeling.

They
said maybe, and they said pick it up in a few days, and I wanted to kiss my
laptop goodbye, but I did not because that might have been weird. I am
borrowing E.’s giant laptop of megadoom, in the meantime; it is sleek, brand
new, so clean and perfect. It is the size of a small country and weighs more
than my cat (and I have got a fat cat) and makes me feel, frankly, a little
insignificant, and a little bit slow. I miss my poor creaky old laptop with the
missing L key and the whirring and the hiccuping and the cat hair. It loved
me. It held all my stuff. And I did not love it back properly, and just kept
piling on the load. I miss you, laptop. Come back to me. The other brand new
laptops I’m idly surfing on the Dell website don’t mean a thing to me, baby, I
swear.

  3 comments for “ode to a laptop

  1. anon
    February 1, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Oh man, this made me cringe. I totally don’t back up properly and I would absolutely lose half my existence if my laptop crapped out on me. I hope they can bring your baby back!!!

  2. February 1, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Ooooh, I will pray to the gods of technology oh your behalf.

  3. February 4, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I feel your pain! My home laptop died a couple of weeks ago — literally said “beginning dump of physical memory.” Eeeek. All my photos, and more importantly, my book and 2 chapters of a new little project I was just starting. And then Friday my work laptop was stolen right out of my office. Um, universe, what message are you sending me?? Fingers crossed they can bring your laptop back. I don’t know about you, but in the future maybe I’ll do my backup session with yoga and candlelight. Also some prayer…

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