Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In With the New, With Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Saying goodbye to an old friend is never easy.  When you’re a writer by trade, there’s no denying that your computer is your friend.  It’s your constant companion and your lifeline.  It’s your most important tool.  In the case of a laptop, particularly, it rests for hours on the tops of your legs, almost becoming one with them.  Your fingers become accustomed to the feel of the keys, your wrists to the distance to the keyboard.  You learn its quirks, and I daresay it learns yours, in this creepy age of autofill and autocorrect. 
On my old friend, the letters are worn off of some keys that have become smooth and shiny from faithful service.  The matte finish on the space bar has taken on that same smooth shine on the right side, where my fingerprints wear on it like a stream tumbles over river rocks.
I’ve had my Gateway NV laptop for 4 ½ years.  That’s a long time in electronic device years, especially one with such frequent use.  I’ve known for quite some time that it was “time,” and that I should start looking for a replacement.  So I looked, and looked, and looked.  I looked for months.  I was going to order it from Lenovo, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger.  I was going to get one on sale at Staples that seemed quite good, but I just couldn’t take the plunge.
Shaking my head at myself, I knew what would happen.  I knew I would wait until the Gateway crashed and I was left effectively computerless, shut off from the world, save by smartphone.  One cannot attend to copywriting clients’ needs by smartphone.  Novels can be written on a smartphone, I suppose, but I wouldn’t want to try it.
So I did the very thing I did not want to do, as Paul says in the New Testament.  After a day of struggling with half-loaded internet pages and strange behavior, I knew my friend was ailing.  Then it was confirmed: malware.  At 8pm, I found myself walking through the sliding doors at Best Buy, with a blast of air conditioning blowing my hair back.  “I’m here to buy.  Tonight.  Right now,” I told George, the world’s fastest computer advisor and seller.  I was thankful that they were still open, and that I had such an efficient salesperson.
He helped me select exactly what I said (I thought) I wanted.  I walked out of the store at 8:45pm with a brand new computer.  That’s record time, folks.
This post is the very first thing I have written on it (save Facebook posts, etc.), and I had a devil of a time finding Microsoft Word.  Not sure I can find it again.  Going from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 is figuratively like a fish learning to live on dry land.  Such drastic changes should be outlawed.  Seriously.
I’ll get used to this one, though, and maybe I should even name it so I won't want to kill it while I get used to it.  We name our cars, so why not our computers?  This may help as I mumble innovative new curse words inspired by Windows 8.1.
So I wave goodbye to my old friend, and lay him to rest under a tombstone without a name.  “Here lies the Gateway NV I loved for 4 ½ years, who gave me very few problems.  Upon him, I wrote my first complete novel and countless short stories.  Now he can run and play in laptop Heaven with the Gateway that got me through law school, the Toshiba that ate too many meaningful files to mention, and the boxy, heavy, old Compaq that operated in "safe mode" for at least its last year of existence.  Well done, Gateway NV.”  Rest in peace, friend.  You deserve it.

Suggest a name for my new laptop in the comments.  Percival?  Fabio?  Lenny the Lenovo?

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