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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I was going to tell you all about that time when my smoke detector decided its battery was shot, and I didn’t have a stepstool tall enough to reach it, and I tried to use a chair and ended up dangling from the cabinets.
Instead, I’m going to talk about computers again. You can just leave now if you want. Audra’s got a nice article about Charlie Sheen up. If you wnt to hear more about my first-world machinery problems...well, read on.
Have you ever tried to send a desktop computer through the mail? Let me tell you how that goes.
I packed up the machine according to HP’s instructions. Because the company is too cheap to actually pay for pickup service, I had to schlep the big, bulky box down to my nearest FedEx office. I am in reasonably good shape, but the box is just awkward to lug around.
I had just gotten it into the trunk when I had to go down to San Diego to attend to a family matter. I threw my laptop, some clothes, and the bird in the car (well, I didn’t throw the bird in the car – I put him in his carrying case and gently buckled him in) and zoomed down.
I’d actually almost forgotten about the desktop until my mother asked what was going on with it. “Oh,” I said. “It’s in the car. I need to mail the thing.”
My father drove with me to the nearest FedEx store, then watched me lift the thing out of the car.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” he said, plucking it from my arms. “Hey, this is kind of heavy.”
“It’s not a laptop,” I said. “This all would have been much easier if it were a laptop.”
We carried it into FedEx. Well, he did. I watched. He dumped it onto the counter, and the befuddled staff member peered around it. “What’s this?”
“I’m sending my computer to Indiana!” I said brightly. “Because that is where computers under warranty go!”
The gal blinked at me, then scanned the label and handed me a receipt. “You’re all set.”
It took fifteen seconds. It was the easiest part of the entire debacle.
HP emailed me on the 21st telling me they’d received the computer. They’re estimating they’ll have it back to me by July 11. At this point, the computer has been out of commission for about a month. What’s the company motto? “The computer is personal again”? Yeah, it’s personal. A personal pain in the ass.
In the meantime, I purchased an extended-life battery for my laptop, which has been performing like a little champion. It works like a charm. An hour and a half of work later and I still have 83% of the battery – and it isn’t even in power conservation mode. This is the first time in years I haven’t needed to be tethered to an outlet.
There’s just a slight catch…the battery is big.
So big, it tilts the laptop up and forward. This actually isn’t so bad for typing…but it makes it look pretty damn gigantic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a 14.1-inch machine – but in today’s world of super-skinny, trim laptops, netbooks, and Ultrabooks, my little Selene (yes, I name my computers, what's it to you?) looks more like the old Toshiba monster I used to lug around than the still-solid machine it is.
“Whoa,” the guy at the table next to me at Starbucks said. “What’d you do to that thing?”
He was closing up his envelope-sized Macbook Air. I barely looked up from my work. “I got an extended battery for it. Now I’m free to roam the coffee shop.”
“Man, what a brick,” he sneered. Sneered!
(This isn’t all that unusual for me, by the way. I seem to invite conflict whenever I set foot into a coffee shop. I’ve had people make comments about my clothing choices, my reading material, and my beverages (thank-you, transient #7, for reminding me that Starbucks is an evil empire; I might have forgotten otherwise).)
I am quite irritated with HP at the moment, but my laptops – and this one in particular – have been sturdy little machines.* “A brick that would give you one hell of a concussion if I threw it at your head,” I replied sweetly.
I’m usually a non-violent, non-preachy woman, but it felt good to get off a zinger. And in case of zombie apocalypse, I’m glad that my laptop will be able to double as a bludgeon.
*While researching new batteries for the laptop, I learned that my dear little Selene is one of a handful of its class that didn’t suffer from overheating that led to catastrophic processor failures that led to fires. Apparently I like my computers like I like my men…dangerously close to meltdown.**
**I don’t actually like my men this way.
***Or my computers.