Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Try This At Home

The common laptop bears an odd resemblance to the human body. As it ages, it becomes slower and less responsive, unable to move its parts nimbly or switch topics without a long pause. Steve Jobs, the god of laptops, was brilliant at re-creating them to be faster, brighter and better. Us humans are less fortunate, however, as no one is upgrading us every two years. We are faster, brighter and better at the beginning and decline steadily over time. Perhaps we should pray to the Almighty to a cut a deal with a Chinese slave labor factory that can genetically engineer our DNA, turning us into shining star athletes and models of ingenuity as we crest at age 100.

Sadly, as the Almighty doesn't always do our bidding and Steve Jobs is now in some etheric realm with god knows who, I have to take matters into my own hands. My baby, a three month old uber super duper laptop with all the trimmings, is already getting uppity with me, telling me it has no more space on the desktop for the latest round of Gigabytes it is being fed. So I shell out yet more bucks for the latest hard drive with 4 Terabytes (OMG) and resentfully transfer data from babycakes to its new home where my alternate universe is now tethered to its mother ship.  But babycakes is still pouting and dragging its feet despite a phone consultation with the doctor-technician who can only read a manual while placing me on hold for 15 minutes.

Yesterday, a visit from my 25 year old daughter inadvertently triggered a brilliant new discovery, only slightly less important than Louis Pasteur's experiment gone wrong that proved mold can morph into penicillin. She, like many others, has found out that our healthcare system preys on the weak, the sick, the broke, the elderly and anyone who has visited an acupuncturist or chiropractor for minor back pain. At the moment not employed by a busyness with group coverage, she is attempting to resuscitate her health care as the Cobra snake had just slithered back into the jungle.

We sit at the kitchen table with our mommy-daughter laptops and mommy-daughter scowls on our faces, googling the healthcare universe to find a good match for her. The prospects are dour, as in  'pay me big bucks and I will give you the opportunity to spend yet more big bucks for inadequate health care.' A rude awakening for this young adult who was once a child princess but now refers to our house as "the Westlake Four Seasons" and lives in an apartment in the real Los Angeles, with a roommate and the roommate's 92 pound pit bull that shits everywhere but outside.

Tensions mounting, I hasten to a make another cup of coffee from my uber super duper coffee maker that grinds the beans automatically and dispenses fresh coffee into a cup (naturally with beans organically grown and free traded, little bundles of dynamite courtesy Trader Joes). Now my Mother Bear instincts are out of control; mindfulness and one-pointed concentration are ghosts lurking in the subconscious while my conscious mind is a tornedo of debris. Flinging my cup down on the table, it misses the proper upright position and tilts with exacting precision onto my laptop keyboard, decorating its entire square footage with a perfect mixture of espresso, almond milk and stevia.

My mind is an amazing piece of multi-tasking hardware. With the swiftness of a cat being chased by a coyote, I grab a dish towel while turning the laptop upside down while wiping the liquid away while thinking how I can convince Apple to fix my computer because it was their fault. Simultaneously, my daughter reprimands me in a voice reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz: "From now on, no more drinks near the computer." Now I am the two year old and she is the mother. Never mind.

Taking cues from the time I took a long bath wearing my water-resistant Omega watch, I race upstairs with babycakes to blow dry it, hoping beyond hope that the heat will evaporate any lingering moisture before it drowns. Apparently, it has not drowned, as it starts talking to me in a loud voice, reciting every frigging last detail of what is on the computer and where it is stored. HAL gone mad.

Because I have a deep love of computers, truth be told, the aphorism "love conquers all" proves correct in this case. I sit patiently with babycakes, tenderly examining all the ins and outs of its delicate little software system, making the requisite tweaks, and find to my relief that it is not only still alive but positively vigorous, kicking ass with new agility, speed, and accuracy.

I am gobsmacked by this wonderful turn of events, but my ever-calm husband remains philosophical. He simply remarks, "Your computer needed a little caffeine, that was all."

As this is a public forum, my lawyers have advised me to post this warning:
"Don't try this at home."

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