“I’m going computer shopping,” said my friend Amanda, “want to come?”
My real 17” laptop died – okay, okay, I pounded on the keys in a stressful fit one night and sort of killed the hard drive -- and I’ve been creating on an ant-sized netbook for the past 2 years. It has Microsoft Office 1983. The speakers have been taken hostage by thugs. The mouse ditched its pad. The battery is a resident senior who will die if I leave my home office. The fan is in pain. And my David Blaine wanna-be fingers cause paragraphs to disappear as they feel for keys on the three-quarter-sized keyboard.
My heart spoke.
“Um, my computer is okay, but I’ll come hang out,” I said.
We walked into the computer department of London Drugs and I bee-lined for the markdown table. I played on the full-sized keyboards. Laptops $399. When did computers get so cheap?
Daniel approached us. Poor soul.
“Can I help you guys with anything?” he asked.
“Uh, hi Daniel, yes please, um, I’m not really into buying something today but, you know, if I was looking at computers, could you just crawl into my head and decide which computer would be perfect for me?” I asked.
He’s your guy.
“Ok, we’ve got these marked down and others on the shelves back there,” said Daniel.
“Hey Daniel, I'm thinking a full-size laptop with a 15” screen, fast, with a long battery life, is under three pounds, thin so portable, has a simple design that is not distracting , no extra coloured ink for the French keys and oh, no loud fan, definitely no loud fan.”
Ok, maybe I have thought about it.
Yours is here.
He led us to the back of the store and pointed out the computers on the top shelf. “These are called solid state, there are no moving parts, so fast, lightweight and quiet.
I stood on my tippy toes and smiled at a solid black sculpture that was as thin as the glass shelf it sat on.
“What are you looking at,” screamed my mind, “you’re not shopping and definitely not up here!”
I landed on my heels like an Olympic gymnast and lowered my eyes to the waist-high shelf. Yeah, these computers were fine. They’d do.
I typed on the keyboard of a $399 Panasonic that had black keys with red and blue ink that beamed like police emergency lights. Sunglasses? I picked up a Hewlett-Packard that weighed the same as one of my veterinary textbooks – all 2392 pages of it. Bicep curls?
Amanda grabbed the Panasonic that sat next to mine -- she didn’t mind its colourful keys.
“Hey, Amanda, can you hold this Asus for me?” I typed a few words.
This is the one.
I put it back.
“These are the new Windows 8 priced at $1095 but we still have them with Windows 7 for $829,” Daniel said, “and I could give you an even better deal if you both wanted them.”
Daniel, Amanda and I chatted for twenty minutes about availability, warranties, return policy and store hours.
It’s the one.
“Um, Amanda, I’d like to go sit with this for a moment,” I said.
We walked a block and settled into a cafe booth to chat.
“I know that Asus laptop is the one yet I still go to the sales table. I’ve never had such a nice computer. My mind is sitting right here between us, yelling at me to get off the top shelf,” I said.
“Is it the money?”
“Oh you know me well” I said, "I know I use that excuse a lot."
“You don’t have a TV, you don’t have many things at all yet you work on your computer all day, every day, it’s your job.” Amanda said.
“I know, it’s not about the money, it's something else,” I said.
“Real computers are for real writers,” teased my mind.
There’s space for everyone on the top shelf.
We walked back into London Drugs and five minutes later we each had a cardboard box in our arms.
"Hey Daniel, you've been awesome, thank you," I said, "did you have as much fun dealing with us as we had fun buying from you?"
I got home, dimmed the lights, lit a few candles and held the box in my lap. An Asus Zenbook. The purple and black box was nicer than my old computer. I removed the brown leather-like sleeve -- it has its own case too! This model was slightly different -- stainless steel grey – and could cause around-the- block-line-ups at the MoMA.
I glanced at the empty top shelf of my book case.
It’s yours. Use it.
I charged the battery. I downloaded software. I transferred files. I changed the default settings. I personalized the desktop. And my dog, Monty, licked the screen.
Then it was mine.
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© 2012 Michelle Sevigny. www.michellesevigny.com. Reprint permission granted with full copyright intact.
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