Earlier this month my computer started to sass me. The icon showed that I was plugged into an outlet, but no charge was being created. Betrayer. My battery was no longer functioning at full capacity. And after only eight years.
I did what anyone does in this day and age. I started to look at buying a new computer. Now, technically my computer is fine. It turns on every time. I do not live in fear of the blue screen of death. I still have 150 GB of hard drive space available. Granted, Microsoft is no longer supporting my version of Windows. However for all intents and purposes, my little laptop is still chugging along.
Yet I went in search of The New. My job offers 35-40% off of certain brands. I thought I could find something in the $400 range. Or not.
$1800 for a laptop? Are you kidding me? No wonder I am not a gamer. And things have changed. You can pay for a copy of Office. But you can also pay a monthly fee to have access to “more features”. Oy. Then there is the “extend your warranties” racket. The price point kept building. And building. And building some more.
I admit to being lured in by The New. You know; when you go out and see something that you just have to have? When you cannot help but put those items in your shopping cart and get excited about it being your very own? It is amazing how quickly that thing can turn into one more possession that clutters up a cabinet. Exercise equipment, you know what you have done.
I am clearly not immune to this. My downfall is books. I watch release dates with great anticipation. I become impatient. That book must be devoured now. If it is a book of new stuff, then I try to read it within a week of its release. Then it joins its brethren on the shelf. If it is a comic collection; material I have already read? It usually goes straight to the shelf. I have read it before, yet I remain consumed with having it in my home as soon as possible.
Some folks want a new car every year. There are iPhone users that cannot wait to upgrade. (One more camera! Even more waterproofing! We get it.) There is still a rush to be first in line for the newest summer blockbuster. Get it now, be the first, go go go.
Hobbies can bring this out in us too. How much easier is it to start a new task than complete the old one? Beginning a quilt is all well and good. But sticking it out? Putting in all the hours to finish it? That sounds exhausting.
You can go hiking to your favorite spot. Yet there has to be a new hike now and then, does there not? Should there not be some thrill of discovering a different landscape as we venture outdoors? For all the times we wish we could devour our favorite book for the first time, we can be slow to put the effort into reading a new book.
The funny part is that the “when” of trying out new things should have no effect on the enjoyment. I watched Stranger Things after everyone else did. I avoided spoilers, so it was still fun to watch. I did not read To Kill a Mockingbird until my thirties. I loved it. A classic Dickens book can enthrall me.
Then there are the things which people value more for being there longer. The label “vintage” has become a selling point. Around here, folks are quick to claim that they are Pacific Northwest natives. (Even though they are not. Go back thousands of years, not a few decades. Those are the real natives. The indigenous people get the credit, not you. Come now.) We want the pat on the back for trying it first; for starting the trend. If the prized possession is sold as an original, then it should be in the finest condition. Dings and dents are frowned upon. However those are products of everyday life; why shirk them and turn up our noses?
My Bible could use a replacement. Revelations is falling out of the binding. Matthew got attacked and torn by my cat. The cover can only be duct taped so many times. It still functions as a book. It has all my highlighted passages. I have used it for decades. Pocket Bibles are printed too small. Research Bibles have far too many notes. I know how this Bible functions. I will give it up when I must. Not yet. (I am as loyal to my Bible as I am to my jogging pants.)
Marriage seems be a merging of the two worlds. You want to preserve what made you fall for each other in the first place. At the same time, you desire to experience new things. It is more fun if you can find out new things together. About the world, yes; though also about the person you are with. Keep the laugh, memorize the curve of their neck, and know what it means when they tap their fingers in that rhythmic way. But God help you if you tell that same old tired story one more time…
At my core, I am not going to change. My personality is firmly set. Though there is always room for refining and tweaking. Part of that is doing my part to keep the conversations engaging. I would need activities, either solo or shared, to keep things interesting. I can always use one more thing to talk about. We would like to avoid the joke where the man trades in his 50 year-old wife for two 25 year-olds.
A few years ago my cat was getting old. Apparently most cats suffer kidney failure as they enter their late teens. So it was that I would sit down on the bathroom floor, put my cat on my lap, and run an IV of fluids into the scruff of her neck. Three to four times a week, for two years, I did what I could to take care of my cat. Someone suggested, “Maybe you should just get a new cat.” They were clearly not pet people. You do not give up on a pet so quickly. You stick it out, quirks and all.
My computer has stayed loyal. I have removed all the pre-installed programs that I have never used. I know where all the files are kept. I know the shortcuts. The darned thing is paid for. It even fits in my backpack. What more could a fellow ask?
So I was delighted when it dramatically healed itself. Within a day of starting this entry, everything got better. I had my laptop with me at work. They have a bag check policy there. As I was displaying my backpack for the boss to inspect, the bag fell a solid three feet onto the concrete floor.
I thought that was it. That I would have to seek out a replacement now that I had completely broken my computer. But no. The fall knocked the battery out of its casing. When I got home and put the battery back in, I found that it would once again take a charge. The laptop was fixed. I could hold off the allure of the The New for one more day.
Will I still be satisfied with what I have tomorrow? Well, that’s another story. I’m sure the temptations of the fancier, faster, and shinier will be renewed.