My laptop computer is dying. Actually, it has been dying over the course of a really long time. This is an experience I have not had elsewhere in my life, this matter where something is dying, and this looming demise is known, and the whole business unfolds over an unpredictable, ebbing and flowing, torturously long period. In my family of origin, it is customary to drop dead with no foreshadowing whatsoever; so much so that we joke that both of my grandmothers “lingered,” one having lived nearly 36 hours following her heart attack, and the other drawing out her life’s breath for a full seventy-two hours following her stroke.
The first two laptops that I wrote on were given to me by good friends. I mentioned to my buddy Nina that I was thinking of buying one, as it would be really great to be able to write at one of the many, many places/activities I was forever hauling my kids around to, many of which were far enough away that it made no sense to do anything but sit there on my ass for the two, or three, hours while the child in question did their thing. Irish dancing. Swimming. Youth Orchestra. To name but a few.
Nina offered up her daughter’s old IBM ThinkPad, and my life was forever changed. I loved it immediately. Devotedly.
Irish Dancing was a club that neither I nor my daughter ever belonged to — which was our acknowledged desire going into it. She had been to RiverDance and been enthralled enough with the whole hopping/jumping/drumming/fluting/tapping spectacle that she thought it would be a delicious hoot to give it a whirl. And so I ended up once a week sitting in a giant, overheated kitchen/meeting room of a community center filled with, well, Irish parents and their innumerable children for whom this whole endeavor was a Calling and a Way of Life. The wigs! The costumes! The SHOES!! Turns out there is no limit whatsoever on how much fervent, devoted conversational attention these topics can carry. It was a loud crowded sweaty scene; and though I could tell that this miraculous life-changing mini-computer seemed to be spewing out some indecipherable sound at totally random intervals, I couldn’t glean it and had no idea exactly what it was.
It wasn’t until waiting in the solemn library-grade quiet of the Youth Orchestra, with a roomful of Clasical Music Parents sipping lattes and reading WSJ, NYT or managing their porlfolios, that the sound was discernible – yep, there were the Beastie Boys yelling out in all their glory,
“And say Oh my God that’s some funky shit.”