I’m not proud of the prickly relationship I have with my laptop. I’m aware that the laptop does not have any human characteristics, but I find myself personally blaming the damned thing for all its transgressions. On the other hand, I do believe it knows exactly when I really need performance—I’m in the middle of an e-mail, I’m searching for the movie time and have only minutes to make it out the door, I’m writing the beginning of what I think will be a masterpiece and it freezes before I have an opportunity to save, ad infinitum. If only it would behave. Now that I’m retired, I have more time to spend on the laptop writing such things as this blog. And it means the laptop has more opportunities to turn against me at critical moments.
I am an impatient person by nature. I have fought against this character flaw all my life; and accessibility to the internet does not lend itself to enhanced patience on my part. When I was still working in government, I would sometimes have 20 e-mails open on my desktop while searching for three pieces of information on the internet and composing an issue paper while editing another. I left there with the same expectation of my own equipment. And the equipment has failed me.
This is not an unexpected revelation as the laptop was never able to achieve the same efficiencies as was my work computer—or our home desktop either. The industry has perpetuated what seems to me like a myth that a laptop somehow lets us write, communicate, and educate ourselves anywhere in the world. The fact is that unless you have the latest technology, it won’t go down like that. My laptop was purchased just about four years ago—akin to the Precambrian era in geologic terms. In fact, considering the frequency with which it freezes, the Ice Age may be more apropos.
Given my enduring interest in creating calm in my retirement while at the same time being an active participant in the twenty-first century, I think I’ll buy a new one.