My files have been backed up–I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, and I can conceivably invest in a new computer, but as 2012 continues to slip from my grip, the anxiety of replacement becomes progressively more uncomfortable to face.
It all started about two weeks ago when her heart began rotating in a rainbow wheel both ceaselessly and uncontrollably. It hit me only yesterday, while watching the track wheel assume its new position as evil software dictator that she probably won’t make it to 2013. My loved ones have tried to comfort me, “she’s replaceable, you’ll be okay.”
Genius Bar geniuses have tried to explain that her current iterations are far quicker and more functional than she is, “you’ll be so happy you won’t even remember the previous version.” Previous version? Previous version? She has a name, and it is Lydia.
The realists in my life have explained that she is quite literally “a robot with no heart, so man the fuck up, Leandra.” But I find it all hard to believe. If not because I’m not interested in a new iteration than certainly because I am wholly selfish, a victim of wild separation anxiety and quite simply: I just want Lydia, my one and only Macbook Pro, to live forever. We’ve been to the moon and back together (see: Nasa.gov,) for heaven’s sake! How can I chalk up her death to anything less than, well, a bit of my own?
When I met her, I was 18 years naive. Still ctrl+alt+deleting and using keyboard keys that read “F11” or “Backspace,” I had no idea what “command” meant, much less what it was capable of achieving. She showed me the light (it is rather bright when fully optimized,) and in doing so, taught me of screen shots and Pages and the simplicity of Finder. By the time I was 21, we’d collectively become inseparable, like Thelma and Louise, if Thelma harbored substantial RAM.
Independently, I’d become quite the snob. “Oh, you still use a PC? Like…A Dell?” I would ask with the same discriminative rigor I do today when I come upon a Blackberry user. “That’s so…retro.”
But maybe the realists are right. I’d never quit on her, so how is it that she can quit on me? It does seem rather heartless. And I’ve taught her a thing or two myself, you know. Like the fact that Pandora is most calming when tuned into the Frank Sinatra station. And that Shopbop refreshes with a new slew of fresh clothing every morning around 6AM.
While stroking her keys with my thumb, index and middle fingers wondering if these words will be the last we craft together, I mentally flip through the conjured images of happier days. There we are, by the desk in my bedroom in my parents’ home, IMing from a screen name called Cold Pencil. There we are again, in a hotel room somewhere remote, using 15-dollar-for-one-hour’s-worth-WiFi, setting up a Facebook page and indulging in The Wall’s mysticism. “Hey,” “What’s up?” my first wall-to-wall interaction read. Back at home, I’m paraphrasing from a textbook on Brown vs. The Board of Education and in my dorm room on 20th street, I’m flipping between Word, where I’m typing notes on Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and life-changing computer game, Snood. Oh dear, and awwww, here’s the money shot: there we are, in my kitchen, likening a pair of shorts at Topshop to The Lion King’s ass. She used to be so quick.
Now suppose I do give in, will The Replacement know that I check twitter maniacally? How about that my relationship with Safari is as tumultuous as Cathy Horyn’s prose vs. Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2013 collection? If I type “Pa” into my search tab will it immediately know that I am thinking about Pat Kiernan? Can it handle the egg sandwiches I will indubitably eat on it?
Most importantly though, is this really about the computer, or is it me? I once read (in the bible) that the most important relationships manifest between man and man, and man and God. The years post 2000 however, challenge the previous relationships and offer the meteoric importance of a kinship between man and computer. My search tab is more private than my panty drawer (which, believe you me, harbors some wild ambiguities,) and the collection of memories, notes, stories and experiences that Lydia harbors are more precise and extensive than the ones my own head does. So can I move on? Should I move on? Am I really…?
At last, the spinning track wheel resumes, stops my thoughts and it takes over 20 minutes to regain control.
It’s time. Goodbye, Lydia.