It’s been over a month since my laptop started showing signs of its imminent demise. One morning, it just didn’t turn on. The tiny light by the keyboard blinked, and I could hear the fan working, but the screen just didn’t light up. I couldn’t deal with it, not that early in the morning, so I went back to sleep. An hour later, I got dressed and went out for a donut. Maybe that’s what did the trick and turned my luck around. Pumpkin donuts are magic.
When I came back home and turned it on, it worked, just like that. I spent the rest of the day sifting through everything I’d collected on it, saving everything to dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and good old-fashioned USB sticks. It was like writing a will after a narrow brush with death.
For the next few days, I approached my laptop with a “Hey there, buddy. Want to hang out?” Followed by either “No? Okay then,” or “Yes? Yay! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!”
Finally, a week and a half ago, it stopped working completely. I took out the battery, held down the power button, reinserted the battery, and nothing. I played doctor and took a tiny screwdriver to the back. I dusted the insides and took a look, but honestly, I’m not very tech-savvy, and there was nothing steaming or hissing or bubbling, so I just closed it back up. Now that I’ve graduated, and I can’t run to my school’s IT desk whenever something goes wrong, I feel that it’s time to pick up some Real Life Skills. I know a lot of people would have gone out to get a new one by now, but as a recent graduate living on an intern stipend, that’s not really an option for me right now. I also don’t want to run to my parents for money, because even if I still watch as much Phineas and Ferb as a six-year-old, I want to try to be independent. So instead, I’ve just learned to live without it. I’ve said goodbye to buzzfeed, hulu, and my food blog addiction. I only log in to Facebook every few days.
It’s not easy. When I don’t check my e-mail in more than a day, I start to feel anxious. I can’t shake off the feeling that there’s a Very Important Message waiting for me, even though when I do finally log in, there’s nothing but newsletters and rejection letters.
Now that I don’t stay up late catching up on or rewatching my favorite TV shows, I have more hours in my day. I feel that I should fill these productively, by finishing my NaNoWriMo novel, for instance, or working through the creative rut that I’m in, but often I just go to sleep early. When I say early, I mean the time that elementary schoolchildren go to sleep: 9 o’clock.
The novel I started last month is still growing word by word, but slowly, partly because I’m now writing it with a pen. There is a romantic quality to using the same technology that writers such as Tolstoy did (though I doubt he wrote on yellow legal pads with a cheap ballpoint pen). It’s slower, more meditative and I love the smell of fresh ink.
I don’t get distracted by the same things when I write this way. There is no Facebook to check obsessively, to start with, but really, I can get distracted by pretty much anything. Right now, for instance, I’m hungry and keep wanting to go to the kitchen in search of snacks. I also want to put away the clothes that are piled on the dresser. They make the room look messy, but somehow when the room is really messy and there are clothes all over the floor and on the unmade bed as well, I feel no such inclination.
My routine has changed in other ways as well. I go into work an hour early every day so that I can check my e-mail and type up what I wrote the day before. When my co-workers come in and hear me already typing away, they just assume that I’m really hardworking. A few weeks ago, getting up early enough to do this would have been difficult, but as I mentioned earlier, that is no longer a problem.
I also spend a lot more time at the library. It’s not as convenient as I would like, since their business hours match the hours I’m at the office for the most part. When I go in, I reserve one of the computers for an hour and type away, then I browse the shelves and pick out books to read so that it doesn’t look like I only go for the computers.
I’d say I’ve adjusted rather well to living without a laptop. It just requires a lot of planning ahead. Last night, however, there was a party at the apartment I share with a few fellow interns. I went to bed around 11, because I really can’t stay up past that time anymore. As I was falling asleep I rememberd that I left my phone on the table. I had nightmares of beer spilling all over it, and having to learn to cope with having no cell phone as well.