It’s an early-2008 MacBook that I bought back when I had a steady job and seemingly endless streams of cash.
Not having used a Mac since the 80s when they were ubiquitous in my grade-school in Washington State (with lovely clicky keyboards, ooo ahh!), I purchased this one with slight trepidation and extreme excitement. I tracked its approach vector via Singapore most days while I sat idle at work.
It arrived, I loved its clean whiteness. So Mac-y! So elegant! I purchased the requisite special wipes and cleaned the keyboard and screen regularly.
It became beloved. I named it Floyd.
Fast forward seven years:
But it is not to be: Floyd plods on, growing slower and slower. The removed bit of cover neither rubs on my wrist nor interferes in any other way when I type.
One afternoon: inspiration! Floyd needs a new disk! Specifically an SSD. Research tells me Floyd will have a new lease of life. He will become more responsive.
I’ve never changed a laptop hard disk before. But my husband has. I consult him. He has things: torque wrench. Anti static mat, and wrist strap. Plus other things. I take the plunge for Floyd. I buy him a new disk.
We make a mirror of the old disk. Put it inside Floyd’s inners. Turn him on. He starts up nearly silently. Hums welcomingly. Steve and I hug. Well, I put my arms around his shoulders as he sits at the dining room table, hardware spread all over the place.
The new disk (now dubbed Agatha, after I retired Floyd to an external casing for the occasional back-up) and I enjoy six months or so of uninterrupted happiness. Then comes the news that Apple will no longer be releasing updates for computers running Snow Leopard. Agatha can’t update. I am starting to lose heart. Sadly I start to look on the Apple website for replacements.
So expensive. I’m not working now and if I want to get any of these I’m looking at 18 months of repayments. I have a creeping credit card that needs paying off. I hate the way looking at these expensive purchases makes me feel. Guilt before I’ve even done anything.
I look at other options: a mac mini? Sell the gaming computer (that also needs to be rebuilt, truth be told) and buy a windows gaming laptop? Get a tablet and somehow use that instead of a laptop? None of these options seem right.
I look at the current generation of Macbooks. They are expensive, with crappy specs, and a weird single port that requires you to buy various attachments just to plug in a USB drive. Plus they are metallic. Too shiny. Too slick. MacBook Pros are equally expensive, though I manage to customise one to fit my needs that would put me back about two grand.
Meanwhile I continue to use
Floyd Agatha. I cringe to myself that what I’m using is the Mac equivalent of Windows XP. I’ve become one of those people, the stubborn luddites who refuse to accept the way technology moves on so quickly. The equivalent of finding your style decade and stubbornly sticking to it, fashion-wise.
But seriously, a part of me is so angry that something that continues to work, reliably and to my needs, is suddenly obsolete. I’m angry at the way the world moves on so fast, shedding all but the slick, the well-funded, the fickle. Like a comet, or speeding train that we struggle to hold on to, as it speeds up, and our grips start to loosen…
I’m afraid of aging. Of being so-called “middle aged.” Always a great fear for me. Being a “middle-aged woman.” Why does it sound so distasteful to my ears? At the point where I’m still wondering whether I should continue to dye my hair, or just let the greys take over. I know replacing a laptop doesn’t exactly correlate with embracing aging, but I think the process is similar. At some point you decide to let go of the speeding train. It’s too exhausting to try and hold on.
Same with keeping up with tech. And I say this as a techy person! But mashed up with all of those feelings is also the part of me who hates being told what to do, who hates being dictated to. Who hates the shiny-slick-irritating (seriously, one port, and with all sorts of ugly adapter cables attached?) / fake hair tons of concealer no wrinkles here… It’s all somehow related.
I know sometime eventually I will have to put Agatha aside, but in the meantime holding on to her feels like a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to people who want to make me feel guilty for not giving them my money. For not chasing that train. Maybe one day I’ll again be the sort of person who can just throw down money on expensive hardware whenever I feel like it. But I really hope that when I do eventually head back to work, that instead of scattering cash like confetti I’ll instead stop, wait, and think for a bit first.