My computer is currently at the store for repairs. After trying to fight it into making sense for the past few days I decided it was time to just entrust it with someone with more expertise than me. It’s a relatively (less than 2-years) new computer, and I feel a sense of betrayal. It was supposed to last me for a while, to be my stable-rock. Not supposed to give me more trouble than any computer since… forever. I suppose I have had a few others that have caused troubles but… Not like this, and not so soon. Other than my first computer, and one laptop along the way, all my computers have been kind enough to keep trouble to the minimum until I had already replaced them.
But, one of the interesting things about the current computer issues is that I am finding myself thinking back to the first computer. At least, my first new computer. I had a computer in my room in high school, the old family computer that I was able to do my writing on. But my first computer that was my own, just for me….
When I started college (back in 1999) I had a desktop computer that my brothers and dad had put together for me. This thing was a beast. Huge, old tube-screen monitor, and a tower packed full of all sorts of fun computer-pieces (it had a disk drive and a CD drive! And it was set up to be plugged into the LAN network for internet! No more silly dial-up-modem for me!)
Built in Oregon, we carefully packed and shipped it out to Vermont for school. It lived in campus-storage during the summer breaks when my dorm had to be packed up. It was left on for the majority of the rest of the year, got some heavy use, was once carted outside so that I could do my work while enjoying the sun, and survived through untold numbers of power-outages.
I named it “The Monster” because it was large and bulky, and put together from different parts, reminding me of the monster in Frankenstein.
Monster was a good computer, but had some issues. Sometimes it had a hard time recognizing that I had told it to wake up. And one time it didn’t want to recognize that I had told it to shut down…. (and in that moment I decided I had been correct in naming it Monster, “It’s alive!”)
Monster saw me navigating the early years of college, making new friends and being somewhere completely alone. It saw me move from writing primarily realistic fiction to more fantasy. It witnessed my introduction to writing fan-fiction. And my first experiences with all-nighters for the purpose of homework. I probably watched my first online-video on that poor thing (oh, the buffering speeds…. ouch) and became home to my first massive mp3 collection. Monster was a good computer, and lasted me all four years.
So, as my current computer sits in the store waiting to see what needs to be done to make it better, and all my writing, music and pictures sit on an external media drive, I find myself thinking back to my early computer, how stable (in its own quirky manner) it had been, and how I had hoped this computer would be the same. And I wander in my thoughts from Monster to the computers after it, a string of laptops.
Strangely sentimental, sure, but when so much of my life and work is wrapped up into that electronic device I think I’m justified to be a little worried, and to calm myself by looking back at computers past. And like most things, I do have that one favorite, the one that I know will always stay in my memories, and that one is Monster. (With a close second being that computer I got when the family upgraded theirs. It allowed me to learn how to type like mad – trying to keep up with my thoughts, and provided a special sense of recognition that my writing was an important and worthwhile thing to pursue.)
Please tell me I’m not the only one who has a favorite computer of ages past?