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Columbus Day 2013 - Buying a New Laptop

The time has come for me to buy a new laptop. I have worn out another keyboard. In addition, the battery of this HP has conked out. I didn’t mind it when the screen blipped to total black darkness during my viewing of a Youtube video; but when I was inputting text from a hand-written draft, and then expanding and revising the text, the screen instantaneously blinked black and silent on me. I emitted a choked gasp! For several weeks I then plugged the thing in during creative work while awaiting the arrival of a new battery.

My method of using my memory to retain what’s important works very well most of the time. At 9:53 p.m. the memory is not what it ought to be when the laptop screen goes to black. I believe the lines that I had to re-create are just as good as the ones that vanished into random memory, but it’s anyone’s guess! My memory starts to feel rather random at nearly 10 p.m. A word of advice to anyone: “They” make these laptops to last, at most, only 2 years.

I have decided to purchase a Mac Book, much to the delight of Dear Daughter. A trip to the local store was enjoyable, and I emailed my very dear friend about my decision-making process.

Her response expressed her aversion to electronic gadgets so well and so comically that I told her that I must find a place for her thoughts. And so with her permission, I cite power-packed portions of her perfectly put techno-scorn.

I initially asked my friend her opinion of the Mac Air, but she had no opinion about something whose name must have sounded intangible to her. After my trip to the Apple store, I emailed her with enthusiasm about the Mac Book and suggested the Mac Book Pro for her. Then came the onslaught about her electronic arsenal. She currently has:

the iPad; the iPhone; desk computer at main office; desk computer at remote office; a laptop (of unknown origin); several home computers: computers coming out of her ears and she hates them all.

I commented that I’d seen the large, wide screen, desk top models at the Apple store and felt pure revulsion! “Too Star Trekky- Uhura at the console. Do you have that ear thingie?”

“Yes,” my friend replied. “I have the ear thingie and I never use it!”

“What about the mini-dress?”

No reply.

I told her that I would not have pictured her swimming in a sea of computers. Maybe she could make a floatation device from some of them!

I then received the response that begged to be shared with others. I have edited and altered the text for purposes of clarity and privacy:

“I know, especially considering my absolute distain of such devices!! Add the alarm systems, cars that still have more buttons and devices than I can use and more passwords than I can remember and you can see why I am in a constant state of confusion. In addition I have a new little electronic device called a ‘fitbit.’ We also have 5 TVs and a portable one for taking outside - I can barely figure out how to turn them off and on!! I probably need a new car but I really don't have that many miles on the one I have, and I really don't feel like learning a new dashboard. I actually have a great deal of distain for electronics and gadgets which is why I only use the microwave and not the stove and oven. But I do want the new cordless Dyson I love Dysons!!!”

In sweetest sympathy, I envisioned this highly intelligent female just trying to hear her mind think! There is something . . . non-positive going on with everything going ON!

Dear Husband made mention to me of a P.S. to an online message (which thereby confirmed my hunch that the P.S. is usually the most important and meaningful part of a letter). The post-script said IN ALL CAPS that the recipient owed him a new keyboard because he broke this one TYPING his email message.

My theory is that the importance of the email is in inverse proportion to its size and to the length of the addressees (contacts). CONTACT ALL translates to: IT DOES NOT REALLY MATTER TO ANYONE BUT THE SENDER. In addition, the bottom feeders in the bureaucracy have been elevated toward the top of the “organizational structure or chart” (it’s a quaint term, “organizational,” now that chaos reigns in most bureaucracies), and so the truly informed and crucial folks are the humble ones who are at the end of the contact last, i.e., the last ones contacted. (THE LAST ONES TO KNOW!)

I have never worn out a keyboard using the ALL CAPS (the equivalent of shouting or screaming in digitalese). The mute button on the TV beamer has indeed been rendered nonfunctional and thus useless by me, but I have a rather light touch on the QWERTY keyboard (still I wear the things out!). The control and function keys are a different matter: they receive the fullest extent of my disgust over having to undo something that I did not want done in the first place. Decades of working with word processing have not squelched the typist in me!

I do not believe that my techno-overloaded friend is alone in her misery. I recall the thought that I recently shared with her, the theory that many of the “youth” of today have all that information and yet they know nothing. She agreed that they are on information overload -- no time to synthesize and analyze -- just grab and go!

In the spirit of just grab and go, I think I’ll give my Lehman’s Non-Electric catalog another look with far more consideration and patience than usual. In California, going non-electric may be the mandated wave of the future.


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