I’ve learned through trials and tribulations that the laptop is nothing more than a device that says to you how very busy and important I am. While it is portable and brings joy to millions of users around the world, the advent of the portable electronic notebook computer is frequently a giant stop sign to those around me. It says, “Oh look, E.J. is writing again. I should leave him alone.” If I actually have time to do it, I can pull up a spreadsheet and appear to be doing a bunch of work that I’m not even engaged in. “Oh look at E.J., he’s doing important work. I shouldn’t bother him”
Well, almost everyone. As I sit here at Otherlands and type this, someone has just managed to interrupt me. But it’s someone I haven’t seen in a really long time so it’s no big surprise. Of course, there is some part of me that is damaged because when they idle near my screen for too long it nearly immediately translates itself into fear that they are stealing my ideas. Hey buddy! Great to see you too! Yes, a new laptop! As they stare a moment too long at the screenplay I am embroiled in writing, I force the biggest smile I can as I hit the Windows-D keys and hide my desktop. “So, how’ve you been?”
Believe me, it isn’t that I want to be left alone. It just doesn’t matter where I go I’m consistently inspired to write while, at the same time, unable to find any peace and quiet in which to do the writing. If I’m at home, my downstairs neighbors have a television lives with the volume knob at a 9. Small wonder that I say hello to them, and they always go, “What?” a couple of times before figuring out I’m just being friendly. So now, I’m in a portable universe of writing that is supposed to take me riding on a giant reading rainbow! I can go to any wi-fi hotspot and update my blog, sending my emails to my wrist PDA and setting reminders to call my cellphone whenever and important event occurs.
After all, I am now the owner of a laptop. I am important and busy. I want to be left alone, obviously, and that is why I am carrying this gigantic thing around — so that people will not notice me.
Right now, I’m in the new car phase of my laptop. Oh, look at my new laptop! It is so fast! It slices, it dices, it even cuts mices. It juliennes. It burns DVD’s in just under 5 minutes. I can surf your bluetooth-enabled cell phone from my desktop and dual boot into the sd card readers USB port with a firewire cable! How long, in fact, is it before more companies follow the lead of Ferrari and start making laptops that are branded like cars I wonder? No longer will we own computers like the Hewlett-Packard. Much like the long-obsolete Packard automobiles, new types will begin to appear like the Mercedes-Benz, the Porsche, and the Alfa Romeo. I’m sure this can’t be a new idea, and now that I own a computer worth more than my car, I can see the need of introducing these Y-chromosome-enabled vehicles of life performance with titles that even the stupidest among us can relate to.
So here I sit, ruminating on how few hours are left in 2005 and, more importantly, on how important I must be now that I own a laptop. I guess I was always far more important than I ever imagined myself to be, and now that nobody is talking to me as I sit here (even when I’m not typing) I have hard evidence.
I remember when it wasn’t so lonely at the bottom a couple of weeks ago.