Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dear Genius:

Not all that is broken can be repaired. People, places and things are meant to decay with use, their functionality dwindling as time goes by.


"I broke it," I told the bearded man sheepishly when called my name and I scurried to the counter. "I bent the corner," I withdrew my precious 12" PowerBook and showed him the outlet, "but I could always coax it to charge before now. But 2 days ago, it stopped. And then it died."

He smiled as he took Nick, the laptop, and withdrew a plug from his drawer. He wiggled it into the outlet and frowned until it glowed orange. I caught my breath with joy and grinned as I remembered the real cords go orange when they're working. I had been using a faux-cord without a glowy circle.

"It's 5 years old," I said as he opened the computer and pressed the power button. I looked down at the keyboard, the m and n keys smudged from years of use, and felt a tug of loyalty and love. "I thought about getting something new - I just use it for fun so an Air or even an iPad might be good - but I love it. It's my first laptop and I had to see if you could fix it."

I eagerly handed over my credit card before replacing Nick, new battery and power cord in tow, in my bag. I smiled, an all too rare occurrence of late, when I realized I have more time. My dog is going blind. This laptop will at some point cease to function. My parents age and one of my favorite colleagues announced yesterday that he's leaving the company for new opportunities.


I do not like change. I thrive in environments of predictable routine, being able to think freely because all the small stuff is handled habitually.

I do face the inevitability at some point. I wandered through the store, gently skimming my fingers across the screen of an iPad and settling my fingers on the keyboard of a MacBook to see how it'd feel. I thought, as I waited, that I'd written my blog on this 12" laptop. I made it through my post-doc and published papers. I wrote grants and made friends I never met in person. I started two books and fell in love and in lust. I typed notes from interviews and formally accepted my job offer.

I've also been sad - lost people I loved and ignored others to whom I owe huge debts of gratitude. I've been heartbroken and deeply depressed. And while the former hasn't happened in some time, the latter persists in a pattern I would like to change.

Still, I keep my baby blanket in a bedside drawer. Favorite toys on a shelf in the spare bedroom. Aging photos still rest in frames. So it gives me no small amount of pleasure and comfort to tap letters on this keyboard, touching the smudged m and n keys and hearing the quiet click of the space bar.

I know it won't last forever. But I'm also glad I have more time.

Love, hugs and kisses,

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