This week I feel like I’ve lost a best friend, my laptop that stood beside me through the writing of three novels. I bought her five years ago at one of the large stores that stock all kinds of technology. If it had been a technology hospital, I would have looked through the window, pointed at her, and said to my friends, “There she is! That cute little streamlined one, kicking and screaming. She’s mine! That’s my little baby! Isn’t she beautiful?”
I realize you measure a pet dog’s life in “dog years,” where one year equals seven people years. Extrapolating from this assumption, I’d guess that one computer year equals about seventeen people years. That would make my baby around 85 years old. [Dare I whisper “planned obsolescence?”]
Recently it was obvious that my baby was suffering end stage Consumptive Computer Failure. I could tell this because her hard drive was filling up way too quickly—almost overnight— and the blue screen of death would occasionally pop up and tell me the end was near.
I was sad [and also panicked, but that doesn’t belong in a heartfelt eulogy].
But let us not dwell on the funereal effects of this time in her life; instead let us remember some of her good times.
When she first came home to live with me, she was a new little laptop, full of energy, moving at the speed of light, and always willing to play. She weighed less than two pounds and was sleek and thin-edged, the perfect computer to spend the winters with me in Arizona. Never did she put on any middle-age bulge, and her back-lighted keys greeted me with warmth and happiness every time I walked in the door.
Over her middle years, she captured thousands of pictures of my children, grandchildren, and friends, and scenes from two trips to Europe. She spent countless hours on Facebook and Goodreads, connecting me to people far and near. She also accommodated my new website and blog, a job where she collaborated with Lori Seals Photography and Boutique and Tech Tools, Online. She was starting to slow down a little, but still had plenty of energy to be proud of the pictures and website she housed.
She only had one bad illness in her entire life, but it was such a difficult disease that the people at the computer hospital couldn’t fix her. Not even the specialists at their emergency room could figure out her problem. Instead, they had to wipe her hard drive clean, losing a number of files and photos, and keeping her away from me for three long weeks. Fortunately, I had taken out life insurance in the form of Carbonite. Even though it took a few days to restock her engines and kick-start her heart, she was with me again, her loyalty undeniable, but her eyes not exactly twinkling like the old days. She had survived a hard blow, but she suffered repercussions. She still had a number of computer years left in her, however.
And then it happened a few weeks ago. She began to misread how much hard drive she had left. She was creaking at her joints, slowing down in her speed, and wheezing in her processing. This time the computer hospital didn’t have any answers. It would just be a race to see if she could make it to the end of the third novel I was writing. And she did … she made it to the finish line with grace and style.
Now she will have her information transplanted to a new computer, one that has arrived, but is waiting in a different room in the house so my baby won’t see her and have a heart attack. And once her information is cloned to the new laptop, she will sit in my office for a while.
A suitable length of mourning will be observed.
Then we will have a brief memorial service and begin a slow procession to the recycling center so her parts can be used to save other computers’ lives. [I probably signed a donor card along with those 150 forms that began her life.]
The sad result of all of this, of course, is the realization that no matter what laptop replaces her in my affections, the new one will only last another five years in human time before succumbing to the same end.
Rest in Peace, my Laptop. You have been a faithful companion.