Last night, as my new MacBook welcomed me to its world of shiny things and arty graphics, I felt deeply grateful for friendly electronics, which I believe Apple invented circa 1985. (I remember going to a neighbor’s house and thinking how cute it was that her parents’ Apple said, “Thinking…” as it struggled to, like, add two numbers, whereas our PC maintained a black-and-amber poker face.)
I’d been nervous about the mechanics of setting up my laptop, and here it was, the laptop itself, letting me know everything would be okay. It was so gratifying that I found myself wondering if I could be convinced to exchange all my real friends for robot friends.
Probably, I thought. If I met the right robot.
But while the laptop set-up process was, as promised, a lovely, minimally laborious, zooming journey through electronic space, transferring my documents and downloading stuff was somewhat more plodding.
By this morning, I was in tears because it took me forty minutes to log into the web page for the online class I’m teaching. Between teaching, transferring files, doing some work from home (without the benefit of the neat little email folders I have on my office computer) and being generally behind on replying to emails in my five accounts (if you include Facebook), my brain was stretched incredibly thin. During my trip through cyberspace, my luggage had seemingly gotten routed to eight or nine different countries, some with distinct travel advisories in effect.
I can’t help but feel like if I just had the perfect Apple device, everything—every communication mechanism, every website and account—would be synched up so that I would receive a single, friendly message: “Hello, Cheryl. You have a meeting at 1:30 p.m. Here are directions. Here’s a latte I’ve put in a convenient travel mug.”
I know that’s what Apple wants me to think.
In the meantime, I’m grateful to the National University IT help desk. Apparently, if you’re a school that exists entirely online, you know you’d better not just route people to India or some recording.
And one can’t underestimate the power of Actually Simplifying One’s Life. Right now I’m waiting for the pieces of mine to settle, at which time I hope I will discover things only seem crazy because they’re new, and because I need a weekend.