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.