2017-01-29 / Community

Shhh – don’t tell my laptop its replacement is here


When I was entering high school back in the dark ages, my mom gave me a piece of advice that I’m sure many teenage girls heard 40-something years ago.

“Take typing. You’ll always have something to fall back on.”

I’ve been “falling back” ever since.

Mom obviously had no concept of just how beneficial familiarity with a keyboard would be due to the rise of Computer Age. My first typewriter was a blue Smith Corona manual and I loved it. Remember how many of us trashed those buggers when we tapped our fingers on their fabulous new electric replacements? Take a look online and see how much those “vintage” typewriters are selling for now.  Vintage from the 70s – hah. What does that make me? Don’t answer.

Today, I write on a laptop computer instead of a typewriter, which means my eyesight is shot from staring at a screen and I have to rely on the internet when transferring my column to e-mail. I’ve had this particular laptop for just about 10 years. It has served me well but it’s a little tired. Upgrades are no longer an option and some programs are opening at the speed of snail. It was time for a new laptop.

My mistake was mentioning this in front of my old laptop.

I was working on my laptop and talking to Second Born about the new one on order when I was forced to restart because everything froze. This should have been a warning that the offended laptop was freezing me out. When it booted back up the background of my favorite photo of our two girls was replaced by a starry sky. What the heck? Apparently, this was my laptop’s way of saying, “Too tired, huh?”

As she prepared to leave for her final college semester, Second Born mentioned that she could help me set things up on the new computer if need be. Need would definitely be, but I didn’t even get my new toy until just a couple of days before. There wasn’t enough time for her to help me before she left. That was all right, I felt confident this wouldn’t be a difficult transition. For the most part I was right, that is, until I tried to download the one program I need to write my column.

When I first purchased my new laptop I scoffed at the idea of needing a Geek Squad to set it up for me at an additional charge. I am at the moment feeling like I could use a little geek. Somehow I downloaded this vitally important program to the wrong place – don’t ask me how – and when I attempted to remove it and start all over I think I made it worse. The end result is that I will eventually be spending time on the phone with someone who will rescue me from my own ineptitude.

In the meantime, I am at the mercy of my current (I need to stop referring to it as “old”) laptop, which is allowing me to use it for completing my column under the deadline. It is, however, still in charge, as the battery life rapidly fades and my beloved Dictionary.com website keeps freezing up.

Am I such a slave to electronics that the idea of my laptop shutting down in the middle of an assignment is enough to send me into a tizzy? Let me think about that.


Ironically, I get teased in the office because there are still occasions when I will use the electric typewriter stationed next to my desk.

“Does that thing actually work?”

“Can you even get supplies for that anymore?”

“You must hate having to type on that.”

No, I really don’t. After all, my electric typewriter and I have something in common.

We’re both rapidly approaching “vintage.”

— Janine Talbot is adjusting to her empty nest in southern Maine with her spouse of 32 years and two and a half cats. She can be reached at janinevtalbot@gmail.com.

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