I really hate it when I let myself get all mired in negative feelings about money. What good has it ever done anyone to worry about money? Has it brought them more of the deadly stuff or allowed their pocket change to multiply miraculously? — Not a chance, my friends, not a chance. From my experience, because I, unfortunately, do slip into this state every now and then, all that worrying has ever done for me is increase the number of grey hairs in my head and make me a not very pleasant person to be around — ask my friends.
This latest plunge into pecuniary worries was activated by the need to go out and buy this new laptop. I didn’t have any choice. Well, I certainly had a choice — we always do, right? I could have just accepted the increasingly slow operation of my old laptop and continued to pray that it wouldn’t die on me completely. But then, last week, it did just that. I sat down to use it and the blasted thing just wouldn’t turn on. It took much cajoling, jiggling the “on” button and a few prayers to St. Jude — patron saint of hopeless causes — to get it up and running. Thoughts of losing everything that was on there propelled me to action. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Maybe, it’s time to at least look at new models.” I felt a tad disloyal to that old girl who had seen me through nine years of blogs and books and emails and too much wasted time playing games. But it wouldn’t hurt to just look, eh?
I decided to avoid, for the moment at least, the hyper-energetic environment of the downtown Apple Store. Whenever I walk in there I feel my heart beat increase with every step I take deeper into the store. Hyper-ventilation never seems far away. Then, there’s all those blue-clad, young, hip “geniuses” hovering about with their iPads at the ready to slot you into a place within the madness of the store. There’s a part of me that enjoys that kinetic energy of the place but I wasn’t ready for it quite yet. Instead, I just walked down to College Street to a supposedly “Official,” “Authorized” Apple Dealer. I never totally trust that they’re the genuine thing.
The first thing I noticed was that it was very quiet in there, no underlying, murmuring roar of people trying out new products and wanting to buy, buy, buy. I didn’t know if this was a positive or negative sign. Also, their “geniuses” didn’t even wear the “official” blue shirts so how official could they be? But I was there so I looked disinterestedly at the newest models — honestly, I was looking more at the prices. Even if I wasn’t hyperventilating from the environment, I certainly started to do so when I saw those costs. A cute young guy came up to help me. I told him about my nine year old computer and its “ancient” operating system and asked if anything could be done to help it along for a few more years. He looked serious as he said, “Nine years is a long time in the world of technology.” I never thought of anything under ten as old before this. He said that for $25 they might be able to upgrade it, but — I knew this wasn’t going to be good — it would make the operation even slower. If that laptop got any slower, I’d have to take up knitting again. Then he put the final nail in my old laptop, “If anything happens to this, you should know that they don’t even make parts for it anymore.” I felt doomed to spend a lot of money.
I’m not comfortable going out and plunking down a couple thousand dollars on something. I think the last time I did that was my farewell trip to Spain which, I have to say, included days on Mediterranean beaches, and moon-lit dinners on my terrace. For this money I’d be spending now, all I’d get was the possibility of a lot of vicarious visits to such places which doesn’t quite do it, eh?
But, seriously, could I survive without a functioning, faster than molasses computer? No,sigh, I decided I couldn’t. Still not trusting that the “Authorized” dealer was the real deal, the next day I took myself down to the madness of the downtown Apple Store. The blue-clad chap at the door asked me what I needed. I told him I wanted to know if there was any difference in buying something there, at the source, as opposed to at an “Authorized” dealer. He looked at me with that disdain that young people have for older people asking stupid questions. Of course, he could only smile and say, patiently, that really there is no difference at all.
I went back to my neighbourhood store and reluctantly, almost sadly, handed over a lot of money for this cute little thing. I didn’t open the box for two days because I wasn’t sure I was going to keep it. I thought that maybe I could do with less memory and save some money or maybe my iPad would do the job or maybe or maybe. Eventually, I broke down and opened the box and then started getting frustrated about things looking different and not being able to figure out how to do things I did automatically on the other one. Yeah, the tired, “old dogs and new tricks” adage did cross my mind. But, here I am now, writing this blog and being impressed how the words flow and get saved and corrected without me doing a thing. So, hopefully, this sweet, little laptop will see me through all my days of using a computer, eh? Fat chance.
But one thing I do know is that I vow, here and now, sitting in a noisy cafe, that I’m going to stop worrying about spending all that money on this — well at least until my next 4:30 a.m. sleepless night.