Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life on The Farm: Very Repairy

Don't look directly into the light!
This week on the farm, my laptop was ailing and worsening by the minute – as evidenced by the appearance of the spinning beach ball of death (on the computer screen, not a hallucination, or evil portent rolling across the lawn). 

There had been a whirring, grinding noise from the left side of the board under the “AZX” keys for two weeks. I was in denial, hoping that I could cure the affliction after running fixit programs: many, many fixit programs. 

I got a bare minimum of work accomplished by using it for 20 – 30 minutes at a time, and then shutting it down before it blacked out.  Is 170f high for a computer fever?

I was delaying the inevitable repair bill as long as possible – I always do.

At the point where the situation escalated to “emergency”, I drove it to the ‘Mac Hospital’ in South Burlington (Small Dog Electronics). 

I held my cold, dead computer tight to my chest and queued up in an optimistically short line of similarly quiet, desperate, hopeful people, only to be told that it would be 15 days before evaluation, plus the time it would take to repair.

Sixty ailing computers lay under lock and key in the back room, well and fairly ahead of me. 

I can’t wait twenty days!  I have a business to run. 

No invoices, no marketing, no e-mail orders.  I slid fast in a downward spiral, riding a nightmarish Alpine Slide, slick with poo, sans brakes.

I took a deep breath – and sighed while looking down at my lifeless laptop - that trusty silvery workhorse with little dimples where someone had dropped a glass on it, and the barely visible dots of spray where the cat had ‘chooed a sneeze.

Would it be possible to garner a little ‘old-lady-sympathy’? 

After all, most of the workers in the store were of the age to be my college kid.

(A bigger sigh, a sniffle, a little welling up in the eyes.)

“Look”, said the technician in a low whisper, “if you just want to replace the fan, the computer goes directly to the repair bench, and it could be fixed in 24 hours”. 

Score one for this old lady! 

In two days, the computer was comfortably resting back at home  – but I’d spent far too much time marveling at the super-fast sharp-screened laptops that still had that new car smell in spite of hundreds of people touching the keys.

I violated my rule about germs and touched the shiny black magic that is a 17-inch MacBook Pro.  It cost as much as a roof shingling, and was as impressively fast with the clicking keystrokes as it was unapologetic about the massive amount of space it commanded.

(Had I seen a notice about in-store financing?  I might have enough value left in the car to scrounge up a downpayment.)

Best not to even entertain the thought.  The air conditioner has started randomly flashing sixes, refuses to heed the “off” command, and smells like burning water.  This could be a very repairy summer.