OK Computer (Previously titled “The Breakup,” but that was a lie since there was no breakup whatsoever.)

22 11 2006

Mama’s gonna need a new computer riiiiiiiggghhhht…aboooouuuttt…now. All night, my computer has been beeping and whistling at me, a new “talent” as of this afternoon. I tried everything, folks: the sweet-talking, the whispering promises into her little USB ears, the patience–oh, sweet lord, the patience as she froze and beeped for an hour straight. Shut down, turn on, freeze, Force Quit, Shut down, turn on, freeze, Force Quit, off and on, off and on. But my patience wore thin. I got nasty with my computer, readers. I spanked her. That’s right: I turned her little plastic self over and I spanked her battery.

Immediately I turned her over. I cradled her close to my heart and kissed the little apple adorning her cover. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I don’t know what came over me just now!” Tears welled in my eyes as I considered the consequences of my violent actions.
She was stunned into silence.
“God. I…I…I don’t know what to say. It’s just that…that I was so frustrated with what’s been going on with us lately! I feel like we’re not communicating the way we used to anymore. It’s like…ever since I erased your hard drive by accident in July…and ever since I moved here to Brazil and brought you with me you’ve been a different computer. I know you have your friends at home and I know you made a huge sacrifice to come alllll the way down here with me. But I mean, we’re a team, Imogen [that’s her name because she has an Imogen Heap sticker on her, placed there lovingly after I went to a concert at the Sundance Film Festival in January with Dennis] and as a team, we need to have good communication. You used to be so open with me. So willing to share. And now, this…all this beeping, this whistling, this refusing to work with me. What’s happened? Why such a cold shoulder? Why so suddenly?”

And then I saw it: the new sticker. An O Teatro Magico sticker that I put on there two nights ago after I went to the electricity-free concert in Centro. I had placed the sticker right on the cover of Imogen.

“It’s the sticker, isn’t it?” I asked, caressing Imogen’s built-in microphone. “Imogen. It meant nothing. It means nothing. It was just one time, just one little sticker. That’s it.” And then, as if it would mean anything to her, I muttered, “It doesn’t even speak English.”

I knew then I would have to give her some space. I shut her down. I ate half an avocado. Poured two glasses of juice. Looked at her from afar and hoped against hope she’d come around again. I knew how much I’d hurt her with that sticker. But maybe, maybe if I approached her again with a little more tenderness. Maybe if I stopped listening so much to Brazilian music and started acknowleging Imogen’s, maybe she would feel recognized, appreciated, and valued.

Reluctantly, I gently pushed the “On” button. She paused for a second, as if considering her choices: turn on or stay off? In that second, I realized how lost I would be without her. How she is so entirely crucial to my each and every day here in Brazil. How she is the one true link to my family, to Dennis, to my words. And I knew how much I would be losing if she chose to turn her back on me forever.

And it was as if she could read my mind in that one second. Her blue screen popped up and logged me in. She personalized my settings. She waited for me to guide her toward the Internet.

And since then, she has been silent and willing to help me write, at the very least, my lesson plan for tomorrow. And this entry. However, and I will go ahead and risk the chances of her shutting down on me once again as I say this: she did give me a hard time about this blog tonight. It’s like she doesn’t want me to air our personal business to the cyber world. And that makes sense. But maybe she’s forgotten how important writing is to me and that writing is the only way I know how to deal with anything. I can’t tell, though, if her willingness to help me after our fight this evening is all a ploy or if she’s really being honest. I mean, maybe she is just plotting the best time to act up again, to go out on her own. But then again, maybe she realizes the error of her ways. Maybe she knows, deep down to her mother board, that it really was just a sticker. And that, in the big picture, one little sticker doesn’t mean anything in our four year relationship.

I know she still loves me, even a little bit. Tonight, as I tried to upload a file of myself with my disgusting robot foot for your viewing pleasure, readers, Imogen froze up. Now, I will say that this was one of the straws that broke this writer’s back and led to our horrible almost-break-up fight wherein I turned into a vicious monster, but I can, in the calm I have acquired since Imogen and I have started to communicate again, understand that maybe she was protecting me from the years of embarrassment that were sure to ensue after my placing that photo up online for you all to see. She knows I look like a fool, what with this huge thing I am toting around on the lower half of my body. And so, I will take whatever comfort I can from the fact that Imogen was trying to communicate, in her own frustrating way, that she wants me only to put my best foot forward to the world.

I hope to god this woman doesn’t hold a grudge longer than I can.

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