Thinking Too Much

A Fool In NH Column Heading

I have a really great idea for a very funny column about the upcoming presidential primary, but as I sit down to write it’ll know I am totally at the mercy of my laptop.
Will it perform as it is intended, to turn on and make me wait a few seconds; a few seconds I can use to get my ideas I order, or will it decide that it’s time for one of its obnoxious updates and put a kink into my writing schedule?Will all go smoothly without a hiccup or will I have to spend the next ten minutes to a half hour or more watching the circle in the middle of my laptop’s screen endlessly chasing its own tail, and if so, will I be able to retain the ideas that are in my head for this column or will I lose them?
There is not much I can do when my laptop needs to update. I look at it as my laptop’s electronic call of nature. The urgency of the update is something that I can’t feel, but I start to think that maybe the laptop can and needs to act immediately.
What are these updates anyway? I would assume that their purpose is to see to it that my laptop is running more smoothly; that it is able to process things smoother and faster. (Except, obviously, the updates themselves.)
When the update notice rears its ugly head, I sigh. I know it could be quite a while until I am allowed access to my laptop’s function. Still, it implores me that under no circumstances whatsoever am I to turn off the computer during the process of the update.
I comply, even though at times I am frustrated enough to do so. I am ready with my ideas and, with a cup of hot coffee in hand, excited to do battle with words, but it often won’t let me go to work immediately. When this happens, I am often tempted to go against the orders I see on the screen and just turn the thing off anyway.
Still, I stop and think. It’s a habit of mine.
I assume that my laptop is receiving its orders from a place far away. A place I envision that is full of wires and electricity and people with coke bottle glasses who are telling it it is time for its update. I could be wrong, but it I like the scenario.
So, I think, it is not necessarily the fault of my laptop. It is possible that my laptop isn’t thrilled about the updates either. Maybe it feels some sort of weird electrical pain as the updates happen and, if interrupted and needed to be started over again, the pain is even worse. So, it implores me when I turn it on, not for any reason whatsoever turn it off because it will only be worse for the laptop.
If I turn it off, maybe I will be acting selfish and heartless and not thinking of my laptop but only of myself. So, I don’t. Instead I watch it chase its tail and start to think crazy things like maybe my laptop has feelings and I need to be considerate of what may or may not be real.
Then these bizarre thoughts carry to other electronic devices as well. Did my tablet feel pain when I accidentally dropped it on the floor? Did my keyboard at work suffer greatly when I inadvertently spilled hot coffee all over it? Was my cell phone feeling distress when I was forgetful and left it behind at the restaurant only to be confiscated by the hostess and placed in a dark box with other forgotten things until I came back the next morning to claim it?
Then it occurs to me that maybe life was easier when we didn’t have all of this technology. Sure, the way we do some things might be slower but the psychological pressure we might begin to feel if we were to think crazy thoughts like there is a different plane of existence for our gadgets might not be worth it.
Of course, I may be the only one who is thinking this way and, of course, I would never even have these thoughts cross into my head if my laptop didn’t have to go through its obnoxious routine of its random updates and if I had never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey.
So, I press the on button and wait a few seconds. All seems to be fine, but I’ve fallen for this trap before. I know better than for get too confident or smug. Plus, all this thinking has given me a headache and I need to lie down for a bit.
I guess my great column about the primary will just have to wait until next week.

Brendan welcomes your comments as brendan@weirs.com. His website is www.BrendanTSmith.com