RIP Dell Latitude

My laptop kicked the bucket a a few hours ago and after several attempts at resuscitation by my friendly residential computer consultant, Tom, it appears that my trusty Dell is a goner. I had backed up most of my files a few weeks ago, so I feel less bereaved than when my clunky desktop crashed in 10th grade and I lost a lot of my writing, including some poetry that is probably better left forever-unread. But still, I’m a little sad tonight to be saying goodbye to my Dell. I remember the summer after my senior year of high school when I spent hours researching laptops online with my friend Charles–we were both dweeby enough to spend the time making sure our new computers would be just right. Yes, Dells garner a lot of scorn–some of it deserved–but mine always served me well until its slow demise these past few months…

It’s strange how you can form a bond with a dark gray plastic square composed of chips and wires and who knows what else. I never named my computer the way I tend to name other inanimate objects (Marge the couch, Seamus my car), but I still feel–felt–a certain kinship with that modern companion of mine. And now, as I sit in my co-op’s computer cluster, tapping away on a bright new desktop, I wonder if it isn’t just a bit strange and pathetic and horrifying that I feel a sense of grief for my deceased laptop tonight. It was just a machine after all, and a husk at that; the essays, the e-mails, the stories, the spreadsheets, the random documents I’ve spent hours on are all thankfully tucked away in folders on my external hard drive. And even if I lost all of that, too, life would go on. I wonder if we ultimately spend more time with our computers than with some of our friends or our family at college, at work. What an incredibly minuscule blip of a loss it was when I heard my laptop’s final digital sigh tonight when everyone I love is alive and breathing.