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It seems that every time I have to “update” or “upgrade” or up something relating to the technology in this household, I get terribly upset with me, and it and everyone around. The cats have learned to stay clear of Annie E. when I start to shake a fist in the air and curse this sleek, little silver laptop. But, they especially stay clear of me when I get utterly frustrated because I just don’t understand all this stuff. I get so hopelessly tangled up in all the technical “cords” of language and new systems and that swift little pad which they decided to change completely so up is down and down is up. Why?

I had to buy a new laptop. Apple didn’t leave me any choice. My still-functioning, nine-year-old MacBook was slow but it got blogs written, emails received, budgets accurately tallied and photos stored. What more did I need, eh? But, then I started to get worrisome notices that, Oops, with your very, very old operating system — it made me feel embarrassed — this and that cannot be updated. Even the Cloud had locked me out. I didn’t mind being out-of-date, but evidently those who provided my various webpages would not stand for it. I went to Apple to see what could be done with my Antiquated Operating System.

I avoided the mayhem of the big, official APPLE STORE in the Eaton Centre downtown, and went, instead, to my neighbourhood Authorized Apple Dealer just to have a chat. I figured since they had the Apple logo out front and the staff all wore matching t-shirts, they must be genuine. I moseyed around, nonchalantly looking at this and that until a young man came up to help me. I was the only customer in the store, so it was inevitable that I wouldn’t remain my invisible self forever to one of the five sales folks — especially since there was a potential sale here, eh? The guy had a nice Scottish accent and listened attentively when I told him the sad-but-true story of my nine-year old at home.When I finished, he shook his head and said, “That’s pretty old for technology.” But it still works, I countered, then asked if there was any way to up-grade the OS without me buying a whole new laptop.

He thought about it and said he could do some up-grade that would cost about $25. That sounded mighty fine to me. He wasn’t finished. But — it was a big “but” — he continued, it would make the functions even slower than they were now. I translated that as “not functioning at all”. And, as if I needed any more dire warnings, he said that annoying little rainbow-circle would appear much more often. I hate that thing. Then, to finish me off, he said in a by-the-way manner, if anything went wrong with the computer, too bad, since Apple didn’t even make replacement parts for this vintage. Talk about feeling lost and helpless in that crack between a rock and a hard place. Since I had heard some of this before, I believed him, what choice did I have? I’m sure he could feel me wavering then because he started to point out the excellent features of this new model. It was all good stuff. Who wouldn’t love it, eh? But then I looked down at prices and asked him to give me the “all-in” price including the substantial-tax that we pay here, warranty, etc., etc. I took it home and cried knowing that if — no, when — I bought it, it would negate any dream of taking a little trip this summer, even to Lake Ontario which is just down the road.

The next day, as if orchestrated by the Apple-God, the “ancient” laptop wouldn’t turn on at all. I did all the little tricks that I had been taught over the years, and none of them worked. Was this its kind of protest, knowing that I had been out seeing new models to replace it?   Finally, after a quiet prayer to St. Jude, and another push on the on-button, the bloody thing started. But I knew, if I was serious about getting the Cookbook out this summer and any other writing I was bound to be doing, I’d need a new “tool”.

Not trusting the “authorized” dealership to give me the same benefits of The Genuine Apple Store, the next day I braved the frenzied crowds and went down. The little “greeter” at the entrance asked me what I needed today. I told him I wanted to know if it made any difference if I bought a product there or at my neighbourhood authorized dealer. He started to type this info in his iPad, then looked up with a smirk on his face which I translated as, “Boy, lady, are you stupid!”He then told me it made absolutely no difference whatsoever. Being properly insulted, I turned around and went back to the neighbourhood shop and bought the damn laptop.

When I finally purchase something like this, I want it to just work. Plug it in and painlessly start using it. Isn’t that the beauty of staying with the same maker? But it never works that way and I should know that by now. No, it took several trips down the street to download my files only to discover that some of them couldn’t make the leap to the new. I wasn’t all that sure that I could either. When some of the files just didn’t want to come on over to this new apparatus,  I asked the lovely young man with amazing tattoos and swept back hair who was helping me, “Why, why, why???” He said to me quite patiently, “Well, Ann, there were quite a few new ‘versions’ of operating systems from your old one to this new one.” Isn’t it all in the same family? It wasn’t like I was moving from Microsoft, god forbid, to Apple, after all. Why couldn’t they just make it happen? But they can’t and it won’t so I’m stuck with half of my files on the old computer and half on the new.

I’ve been back down there quite a few times since those initial sessions. Most of the problems were, shamelessly, caused by this user’s ignorance of technology and sloppy record keeping. But my tattooed cutie didn’t once suggest that maybe someone else could help me this time. He is one of the bosses so surely he could have done that. No, he just patiently and kindly took care of me. It was sweet. Today, when I went down to get my email straightened out, I took some chocolate chip cookies I baked for him. I considered it a good investment for future problems.