Breaking Up With My Mac

It’s late, so I won’t make this long, but I wanted to drop in and let you guys know what’s been going on this last week. I was really sick at the beginning of the week, and my computer decided to die again while I was home from work, leaving me grouchy and bored, with no way to catch up on my blog. No good at all.

Last time my MacBook died (about a month ago), my motherboard fried, and my boss very kindly took my hard drive out of my 15″ MacBook Pro and put it in a 13″ MacBook body. It was a great trade – I had a working motherboard, plus a smaller, lighter computer. Unfortunately, my good luck didn’t hold out. It only took a couple of weeks for my “new” computer to start having the same problems that the old one did, including a mouse that froze at the drop of a hat, forcing me to restart several times a day. Eventually the issues ended up escalating to crazy screen color changes and wholesale refusal to work for more than a minute without freezing and turning off.

On Tuesday, my boss replaced my hard drive, but that didn’t fix the problem. On Wednesday he upgraded my operating system in case the problem was with old drivers, and that seemed to do the trick, until yesterday morning, when the computer started freaking out again right in the middle of an important task. I had a mini meltdown…OK, a pretty huge tantrum. Life has been hard lately, and the computer was the last straw. I started sobbing uncontrollably, then crawled into bed and tried to hide. The Man was home to witness it all, and after awhile he made me get out of bed, then took me to Best Buy and bought me a new computer as my early Christmas present. He’s a good guy.

So now I’m typing to you on my very own personal laptop. It’s not a Mac, but I’m not inclined to be too picky about free gadgets. Especially since I’m pretty happy with this computer. It’s a cute Acer Aspire, with a touchscreen! I’ve been having a lot of fun personalizing it (everything’s purple) and figuring out how to swipe between screens, add apps, and change settings to get everything just right.

The thing I like the most about it, however, is that I’m never going to take it to work. From now on, the computer that my boss is attempting to fix is going to be my work computer, and this laptop is going to be my personal computer. One of my worst habits is not having any kind of barrier between my life and my job, and it’s eating me alive. I think it’s an important step to give myself a little more breathing room from the stress of a job that follows me around everywhere. On this computer I can write my blog, research Santiago de Compostela, take notes about my fitness and life goals, and never feel compelled to stop and take care of a “minor work matter” in the middle of a personal task.

The learning curve is huge, though! The last time I had a PC was way back during the days of Vista. In fact, even though Mac people like to talk smack about PCs being unpredictable and full of viruses, the only PC I ever had die on me was on the Vista operating system. It was a grand death, though – a pop, a flash, a sizzle, and suddenly my hard drive was toast, along with a good chunk of music and photos that I didn’t have saved anywhere else. That’s why this scene will forever be one of my top favorite TV moments…

The Lap(top) of Luxury

The biggest luxury in my life for the last few years has been my Macbook Pro. A workhorse of a machine, its sleek, aluminum body has been upgraded with more memory, and holds more design software than you can shake a stick at. However, I only use it for the internet, MS Word, MS Excel, and a handful of other low-level programs that any dunce could figure out with a little work. The only design program I open is Photoshop, and then only to resize photos. In other words, I’m working on a $1800 designer machine when I could really survive just fine with a basic old $400 laptop.

In my defense, I was required to buy it to attend grad school, so it wasn’t a purchase made lightly. I knew when I bought it that I probably wouldn’t get that much use out of it, in the conventional sense. What I didn’t know was that I’d fall in love with the idea of being the kind of person who uses an Apple product, and go on to buy an iPad and an iPhone. I don’t regret the iPhone one bit – I love it, couldn’t function without it. The iPad was a stupid decision, and it didn’t take long before I realized it wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. A friend’s boyfriend is using it now.

The Macbook Pro was going to be around for the long haul, though. Emphasis on the was.

At the beginning of this week, something in my computer screen began to glitch. It had happened before, a few months ago, so I knew just what to do. I rebooted, updated software, went through a few more steps, and as expected, everything was fine. Then a few hours later, the screen died completely. I went through the process again, and everything was fine for the rest of the day. Then the next day, the screen started to REALLY go crazy. Pixelated stripes, different colors, flashing pixelated images from nowhere, running green stripes that looked a lot like the dashed, moving roads from Frogger…then nothing. My screen was dead.

Luckily, I work with a bunch of tech heads, all also Mac enthusiasts, so my boss was able to take out my drive and put it in the body of a 13″ Macbook Pro (that’s what I’m using now – it’s so much lighter than my computer!). My Macbook went through a barrage of tests, only to find that it was beyond basic repair, and would need some serious work. We’ll have to take it to the Apple store to get it fully checked out, but from what I’ve read, the problem could cost in the hundreds to fix.

Which leaves me here.

Can I buy another Mac in good conscience, knowing full well that I neither really need it, nor can afford it? Does the luxury of being able to be able to show off with a sleek, beautiful laptop overpower the necessity of saving my money to do better things with my life? There’s no doubt that walking into a business meeting with a second-rate laptop will be a huge blow to my ego – and maybe my professional image, since working in social media automatically defines you as a tech-savvy new adopter? But right now, a new Macbook could cost more than I make in a month. There are bills to pay, and little kitty mouths to feed.

I’m afraid that my days of living in luxury might soon be coming to an end.