August 1, 2015

Today I took my old laptop back to Lyle to see if he could work his magic on it one last time. He had done a beautiful job of fixing it up for our son Theo so we could give it to him as a Christmas present, and when it didn’t run his favorite game properly, he took a whole weekend and got it to work so well that Theo was over the moon (see Feb 1). However, time passed, viruses were downloaded and games started lagging, and soon the luster of his laptop wore off. He began to get frustrated with his slow dinosaur of a machine. We broke down and bought him a refurbished Macbook like the one he uses at school. He’s a wiz on that machine and has taught me a few tricks to help me, a relatively new Mac owner, to get the most out of my laptop.

Lately Theo has wanted to play games with his friends on a server and they need two separate computers for that. So that the kids don’t have to use our computers, I thought I’d ask Lyle to work one last time on my old Sony Vaio to get it in good enough shape for one of Theo’s “gamer” friends to use. Today, I handed it over to Lyle and he very kindly examined the computer to see what kind of treatment it would need. A couple of hours later, he reported that he would need to install a new version of Windows on it and gave me a quote that was reasonable but more money that we want to invest in the old laptop at this stage. Lyle had told me before that if I ever decided to let go of the computer, he could fix it up and donate it to someone in the community, most likely an elderly person with very little computer experience.

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So today I decided to take him up on this offer. I was sad to say goodbye to my trusty old laptop that I had used for 8 years. My fingers had tapped on those keys millions of times, writing at least 3 books, numerous articles, and then text for several exhibitions, not to mention all the emails and Facebook posts. Also, the keyboard had provided a warm seat for our kittens when we first adopted them. I know that all of that data still exists on my hard drive and on the internet, but I can’t help feeling a strong connection with the tool that I used professionally and personally for so many years of my adult life. It served me well, and I hope that, thanks to Lyle’s wizardry, it will become a friendly tool for an elderly person in our neighborhood who wants to be able to look at their grand kids’ photos on Facebook, send them the occasional email or even draft a holiday letter – nothing too complicated or speedy, but something that helps keep them to stay connected in this crazy fast-moving world.

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