Saturday, October 30, 2010

Farewell, old friend

Dear Toshiba Satellite,

I first became acquainted with you in 2003, after I spent nearly my entire summer wages that I had earned working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home to purchase you. Perhaps it was because you were my first laptop. Perhaps it was because you were so much faster and sleeker and less bulky than my old desktop Gateway. Perhaps it was just the thrill of working hard to earn something. Whatever the reason, I fell in love with you from day 1.

We had a lot of great times, you and I. Your mobility ensured that we saw (parts of) the world together. We traveled to Maryland, Wyoming, California…and places in between. Together, we discovered the webcam, immersed ourselves in instant messaging, emailing, and minor gaming of the cute, female variety. We blogged together, made purchases together, you stored my precious pictorial memories, and when I needed to vent, you calmly listened while I typed to you my problems. We spent long hours together during finals weeks in college; even though you once lost my 40 page cell biology research paper the day before it was due and I (briefly) cursed at you, my overall love for you remained undiminished. You helped me to waste untold amounts of hours during the first 2 years of medical school – you most likely contributed in a major way as to why I nearly failed my very first gross anatomy written exam, but again, I forgave you. I also mostly forgave you when you had a mini-meltdown and refused to access the PowerPoint lecture presentations that I was using to study the night before one of my pathology examinations. You were, perhaps, the only piece of electronic/technologic equipment that I did not thump soundly with my fist during times of frustration.

And then the unthinkable happened. One evening during the end of my 3rd year of medical school, as I was logged on to the VA computer system remotely to update a progress note, you made a sickly noise. If a patient made a similar noise, I would have admitted them to the hospital forthwith. I realize now that you were trying your very best to warn me. But alas, technologically savvy I was not, and I ignored the signs and continued on with my work, oblivious to your peril. Three days following, I woke up to check my email and found that you had simply given up. No whirring sound or cheerful “Windows hello” greeted me upon the pressing of your power button. As I am female and quite aware of not only what the appropriate buttons are, but when and where to push them, I valiantly attempted to wake you a second time. But you were gone. I was heartbroken. In my saddened and slightly panicked haze, I did manage to remember that you had lasted me over 5 years. This was a feat that made me somewhat proud, not only due to my former track record with electronics, but because with the rate that technology advances, 5 computer years probably = 95 human years. Perhaps it was just your time.

So I saddened my wallet and replaced you – with *another* you. A newer model. I tried my best to remain faithful. Again, we had some good times. You kept me occupied on the epic residency interview trail of late 2008/early 2009. You helped me to keep in contact with friends and relatives, share my pictorial memories, and stay up to date with current medical literature. I have done my best to treat you with dignity and respect, to keep your “vaccinations” up to date with Dr. Norton, to keep you free from spyware and other malicious and obnoxious entities. I do not leave you on for insane lengths of time, and I do my best to shut you off in a proper fashion. (I apologize for that one very unfortunate incident involving an uncapped plastic water bottle which necessitated turning you upside down on top of a towel so that you could *ahem* dry out). Yet I fear that our relationship has run afoul. Your USB ports, which functioned perfectly fine several days ago, no longer appear to work – and your pop out disc drive has not dared to pop out on command in several months. Running more than one program at once has apparently become too taxing for you, and the presence of more than 3 simultaneous internet windows sends you into a slower-than-molasses panic attack. You have developed a more-than-slightly annoying habit of choosing to play videos so that video and audio no longer occur simultaneously. I feel that I have been pretty tolerant of your recent behaviors, willing to overlook many sins given our years of happiness together. But my dear Toshiba Satellite, the one behavior that I cannot abide by, cannot forgive, is the royal blue screen of doom that you choose to present me with unexpectedly this evening. I cannot overlook this slight – for where there is one blue screen of doom, there are many. I feel somehow cheated, especially because you are just over 2 years old. I do not understand. I am baffled. I have been good to you. In comparison to my very first computer, a large desktop Gateway in the fall of 2001, I have treated you like royalty. In return, you have given me a meager 2 years. I am upset, Toshiba Satellite, and I fear that our association may be nearing its end.

Because I have a small, sneaking suspicion that you just might suck.

Fondly yours,