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Fishman: Life after Mac? 

It was only one glass of wine, albeit a full glass. The first of the night. The last in a bottle of medium-priced Shiraz that had been opened three nights earlier.

Only one glass. But that’s all it took. In one clumsy, graceless, boneheaded gesture more out of fatigue than inebriation, I  inadvertently swiped the glass and spilled the contents unto and into the keyboard of my laptop computer.

Erggh! Not what you’re supposed to do. Not what the directions say.

These may feel like toys after a while, these sleek, polished and amazing creatures that suck our energy, change our moods, enhance our memory, alter our consciousness, lift our spirits, connect us with old friends, introduce us to new friends and substitute for real, live exchanges with red-blooded, two-legged creatures that look like you and me, but they’re not. They’re expensive, complex, cranky and sometimes more than a little sensitive.

And they really don’t appreciate libations of any nature.

I moved quickly. I wiped everything down, turned the silver miss upside down to drain, unplugged all cords and walked the dog, more or less in that order. Then I killed a little more time before plugging her in and assessing the damage.

Since I removed her battery a few weeks ago in response to a  universal Product Recall, i.e. bad battery, one that could blow up at any moment, I’m already working on an eviscerated, disemboweled and gutted version of what used to be known as the PowerBook G4.

So I’m not really in any kind of mood for any other disturbances.

Still, these are amazing beasts. They can take a lot of abuse. There’s nothing they don’t know or can’t do. Maybe I could slide through.

Wrong. All I got when I plugged her in was a giant hiss, a loud sucking sound, not unlike a commercial vacuum cleaner or a Shop Vac gone amok.

I felt lost, discombobulated, disoriented. What else could I do with myself? I turned on television and watched an informercial for a DVD, a ribald and mischievous roasting of Johnny Carson with shots of Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball, Don Rickles. Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Or had I? The humor was working. They were really funny, better than the following informercial of Donald Trump selling his seminars about why it’s so great to be rich.

Twice I woke up in the middle of the night with feelings of dread. One episode involved a recurring dream that I’m in a room with a pile of yellow legal pads I’m supposed to write on. The second time it was the memory of the intoxicated PowerBook. So I padded over to the thing and tried to power her up. Still nothing. The same sucking sound. Out cold on the couch. Sleeping off a bad drunk.

I tried again in the morning. More hissing. It wasn’t looking good. From a book of random I keep I found the name of a Mac guy I knew before. He’d try to get over later.

In the meantime, I reverted to old behavior. I coughed up fifty cents, bought a newspaper, walked over to a restaurant and started reading. Felt kind of good being out in the world with other people. Then I went to the public library, found a seat behind a desktop computer, read some more news, got caught up on the not-so-all-important email, deleted the junk mail and did some work. That felt good, too.

The woman next to me was researching jobs in the Scottsdale area. Didn’t she have a computer at home? I asked. Yes, but she was on a break from work and couldn’t do that kind of thing in the office.

Once home, free of the compulsion to check my email, check on Derek Jeter’s hitting streak, look up a review of Bob Dylan’s new recording or find an intelligent explanation of sustainable agriculture, I read an old New Yorker, drew a chestnut and watched the evening network news long enough to see why I don’t watch it. If they’re not on the public relations payroll for the White House, then my name isn’t Jane.

Then,  without my toy, my roommate, my compatriot, my security blanket in a box, I went to a tavern up the street to eat dinner and watch a football game. I ended up sitting at the bar wedged between some diehard fans and an older man drinking scotch and soda, a retired newspaper man, a cop reporter who used to write his stories on a Remington typewriter, three copies,. Nice to know there are some other dinosaurs roaming the earth, said a friend of mine still in the business.

At the end of the day, I was still depressed at possibly losing my Mac but not as depressed as I would have thought. As flawed as we human beings are, plagued with faulty memories, short tempers, limited intelligence, overly sensitive natures and jealous minds, we’re still pretty interesting.

Even after one glass of wine.

 

Note: The fall plant swap is Sat., Oct. 7 at the Boundary Street garden between SCAD’s Boundary Hall and Chatham Steel. Call

484-3045 for more information.

 

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Jane Fishman

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