My two previous laptop computers were really hard-working and amazing machines. The first one my wife bought me in about 2008. That was after a series of big, boxy desktop clunkers, only one of which could fill up an entire desktop, especially with speakers and scanner/printers attached. The biggest problem with desktops was finding new parts when one broke down. Computers are in a hurry to become obsolete. Monitor not showing a non-fritzing picture anymore? A new monitor compatible with your clunky old computer is going to be super expensive. Whatever everybody is using during the year it broke down requires an octopus-like 5,000-pin adapter. And Apple don’t play dat with Windows. And Windows 98 don’t play dat with Windows 7, 8, or 9. And there’s no Intel inside the expensive new processor you get to match the new cpu and keyboard you have to buy. Your system, which is slowly taking over the house, now costs three times as much as the laptop your wife bought, and it still doesn’t work properly.
So, I relied heavily on a laptop from 2008 until 2018 when the battery finally died. I had, fortunately, bought a second laptop in 2012 for my number two son to use, and when he was finished with it, having bought an expensive gaming system with his own money, he passed it on to my daughter, who also bought herself a computer after using it for a couple of years. So, when the battery of Mickey Computer 1 died, and no battery could be found that fit as a replacement battery, I started using Mickey 2, with all kinds of hidden downloads on it from being a kids’ computer for six years.
And so, I discovered that I quickly had to relearn Windows 8, upgrade to Windows 9, and finally be forced to use Windows 10 because the laptop had been customized twice by two different customizers. And for a while I was forced to log into everything through my daughter’s Google Account. Very quickly I found myself degrading in my computer skills from negotiating the ins and outs of a well-used computer’s eccentricities to panicking and running to my daughter to help me handle actual glitches. The computer would erase whole paragraphs of my writing and autosave immediately so that my only recourse was to recompose the writing from an increasingly fallible memory. And the more I depended on my laptop to publish 21 novels through my retirement from teaching, to years of Uber Driving to pay off medical bills, and then a bankruptcy, to a brief stint as a substitute teacher that ended with the pandemic the more the computer glitched… or possibly my arthritic fingers and stupid brain made it seem that it did. The computer becamme glitchier and glitchier. I wrote more and more. I ended up with typos in my final drafts that made it through to publication because my computer would make auto-changes on pages that weren’t even on the screen. How did it do that?,
Then Grandpa Joe Biden repeated the Trump thing about sending us survival money without having to wait for Biden’s name to be printed on every check. And I could pay off my debts and still squeeze out just enough money to buy a new and better laptop. Oh, Goody! Learning Windows 11! Except, I bought a Chromebook. Windows 11 was incompatible. So, I learned Google Chrome. Or it learned to enrage me more effectively than my old computer did.
At the end of this brief computerized history of how computers have taken over my life and changed me for the worse, I am still glitching along. I had a brief computer crisis today. But I have already learned the lesson about turning it off and turning it back on today.