Requiem for a Screen

Posted by - November 13, 2011 | Category: Library

My laptop stopped working today. It sputtered and gasped and wheezed. And then…kaput. And I? I raged, raged against the dying of the byte.

I was moments away from giving it mouth-to-mouse.

But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I begged, no amount of CPR (Central Processor Resuscitation) succeeded in booting it back to life. As we speak, it’s in intensive care at the Toshiba service centre at Siam Paragon in Bangkok. Visiting hours are 9 to 5. Prayers and flowers are graciously accepted.

Black and white ancient headstone

Laptop, we had joy. We had fun. We had seasons in the sun. But the wine and the song like your hard drive have all gone. We had dreams of Club Med, but you ended up in Betty Ford.

I miss you laptop. I miss your quirks, your eccentricities. That cluster of fading pixels. That special little thing you did with the “f” key. Warts and all, you were always by my side. And now you are not.

But I think that’s perhaps a good thing.

You were the first thing I reached for in the morning. Your soothing blue screen kept watch over me at night. In some ways, you were holding me back. And it’s time I cut the cord. I was spending too much time with you laptop. Far more than is healthy. Now I have to find alternate ways to fill my void. I may even have to pick up a book. Or go outside.

What a concept.  

The amount of time I spend online is matched only by the amount of time I spend thinking I should be online. As a travel blogger, it’s all about keeping up experiences. Yes, experiences. And it’s hard to experience much if you’re liking, tweeting, stumbling, and commenting every waking moment. My laptop may have died, but my social media presence will be the real casualty. And is that so terrible?

I love reading other blogs. It’s what got me to start one in the first place. But the social media maelstrom sucks you in, and at times seems just plain impossible to work your way out of.

“Just 5 more comments and I’ll work on my post.”

“Crap, I never liked anything on Facebook today.”

“Just a few more retweets and I’ll get those photos for the next article ready.”

“Only one more…”

The thing is there is never just one more, there is just more. And when it borders on chore-dom, the fun is conspicuously absent. So the lack of a computer has put me on a temporary hiatus from Twitter, Stumbleupon, Facebook and all those other sites designed not only to share my work, but also to give me my fair share of guilt that I’m not sharing enough of the work of others.

Six months ago I didn’t even know I HAD a Klout score. Why should I be concerned it’s going to drop?

You were a time thief laptop. It’s time I take my time back.

Now, who wants to go outside?

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37 comments - add one
  1. Awww… poor laptop. But you do have a point, it’s easy to spend way too much time online with a laptop when you’re traveling. So what I do is occasionally I go to a place (islands are the best usually) that has no Internet, just so I can disconnect. Of course those places are harder and harder to find these days.

  2. I know exactly what you mean; it’s so hard to tear yourself away! I force myself to go to Yoga, to get out the house, to do other things but it’ I need to check Facebook and Twitter and omgwhatamimissing???

  3. I can feel my netbook fading, occasionally it switches to a spanish keyboard, several of the keys don’t seem to work.

    But today I was actually thinking of a social media schedule so it’s less of a time suck. So go with it, take a break and see what happens.

    By the way you have the best titles ever!

  4. I’ve definitely felt like I need to cut the cord on my laptop, but I can’t really give it up right now because I’m in school. Still I’m trying to limit the time I spend on Facebook, Twitterr, and other social medias. No one can like/tweet/comment on/stumble, etc everything out there, so why should I?

  5. It sounds horrific, but at the same time, like bliss. As a travel blogger, you’re right, work is never done. And there are always more comments to make, more stumbling to be done, etc., etc., etc. You lose focus on the actual travel and your own experiences because you are so caught up in making sure you do what you need to do to get people reading your stuff. I think it’s a blessing in disguise. And, while I’ll miss you on social media, I think you will be having a far more intense experience.

  6. It can be tough to find a balance. I would write more about my thoughts on this post, but I am a busy man. I have to read, share, and tweet five more posts before I write one myself. Got to go.

  7. Sometimes I get palpitations because my laptop throws a hissy fit, shuts down of its own accord, stalls or takes eternity to open even a Word doc, and that’s not to mention that several of the keys are blank – the letters have simply worn off! It’s scary, but you give me hope!

  8. I have a feeling our macbook is about to have its second HD crash. It’s only a matter of time. We learned the first time to get out and enjoy what is outside and all this stuff can come later.

    I have to say, It is easier when there is two of us tackling it. I don’t know how you single bloggers do it. We have a lot of admiration for the time and dedication spent.

    And I agree with Ayngelina. You do have the best titles 🙂

  9. Listen, If we cannot connect in “seconds” of settling into our new hotel room, we freak out.
    So, we totally get it.

    But hey, as much as we love the screen, you don’t have to twist our arms to go outside and play.

    CPR (Central Processor Resuscitation) – cute!

    Ok, were off to check out New Orleans today.

    Nancy & Shawn

  10. All of this is true!

    I have 170 blog in my RSS right now, and some days I spend 3 hours or more reading them. I wish I could cut more of them out (I recently dropped almost 40- mostly due to pretentious authors).

  11. Excellent writing, as usual, Raymond!
    Now you can go out and ‘enjoy’ the flood… or, wait, is it too late?!
    (btw- how is it that we haven’t done the ole link exchange yet, you and I? hmmm?) :))
    I’ll go add you…

    cheers, Lash

  12. We are tied to our laptops aren’t we? I’ve just spent a few days on a tiny tropical island. The lack of internet was almost liberating. No facebook stalking, no aimless surfing. And then finally getting back to “civilisation” and realising that nothing has “happened” online…

    Fantastic writing by the way. Very emotional.

  13. I could barely bring myself to read this – my own laptop is unwell to say the least. it keeps doing unusual things and I can’t even describe the noises…

  14. Were the folks from Toshiba able to save your laptop? We feel your pain – we actually had three computers die in the last three months! First, one of our netbook died, then the other one faded away.. and we decided to go back to a ‘real’ laptop. That only made it for three weeks though.. fingers crossed that the replacement lives longer.

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  16. I say that the lower my Klout score gets, the more I’m actually living my life outside the cyber world. I don’t take it as an insult. I’d love for my computer to break down but I fear I’d break down, too.

  17. I feel your pain! My new, expensive MacBook was completely going nutso for no reason, and I was panicking. I took it to the Apple store and they said it would take a whole week to fix! Not acceptable. Luckily they referred me to a local authorized repair place that’s a local company and very fast, and I only had to go without the computer for a night. I realized after that how sad it was how hooked we all are to our computers. Oy. Good luck!

  18. I’m sorry to hear about your laptop. I absolutely adore mine (he even has a name and has gone everywhere with me this trip), so I can understand how you must be feeling. Hope you have a relaxing break from being online though!

    – Lily

  19. Great post. My laptop died a while ago and I panicked, but realized how sad it is that I always feel the need to be connected. Now I have a new laptop and old habits are dying hard, but I try to get offline for at least several hours a day.

  20. Aww, sorry to hear about your laptop. But yes, sometimes these things happen for a reason and get you thinking about the time we spend online instead of in the real world! And yet if you don’t venture out into the real world, you have nothing to blog about, tweet about or Facebook about! It’s a tough one…

  21. one more comment and then I really really will put some proper clothes on even when working from home I should do, shouldn’t I? ———————————————————————————————————————————————
    oh nice, it’s time to go to bed and I’m still wearing my pyjama.

  22. We’re on the same shoes… There are times I want to throw my laptop away because I just can’t help myself get away from it. I am really addicted to Facebook and Twitter and of course to my ever Plantz VS Zombies!

  23. Amen a gadzillion times to the pleasures of enforced downtime. I’m always amazed how people manage to actually travel when they’re blogging and social media-ing on a daily basis. One reason not to have a smartphone, I think.

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