Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pride and Prejudice

I'm so incredibly tired. I usually come home from work just fried but tonight I'm so tired I can hardly function, courtesy of the neighborhood jerks who lit off a major piece of celebratory artillery at 12:30 a.m. last night, just after I had forced myself to drift off to sleep. (I've always had a hard time sleeping in the summer.) I should have called the cops, but I wasn't quick enough, so I yelled at them through the front door, and I'm working up the courage to call Kathy and push for their eviction. Between the pit bull's incessant barking, the Harley, the friends at all hours of the night, the slamming doors and yelling, and things like midnight fireworks, I'm done. I lived here first; this is my home, and Kathy will do nearly anything to keep me as long as she can. The other two tenants are great, and I want her to find another adult to occupy Unit 1 so I don't have to babysit anymore.

This month was Hell Month. It rained every day for weeks and the plant got blasted by what must have been a monster bolt of lightning. I'm tired of peering into electrical cabinets full of neat rows of circuit boards bristling with wires and cables, studded with bead-like transducers and block-shaped clear plastic relays clicking impotently while the valves they control sleep like dragons in the concrete vaults below. I'm tired of staring at unresponsive computer screens with Windows error messages and empty white boxes where red numbers normally glow, rising and falling, indicating. I'm tired of guessing, of calculating, of adjusting, of hoping, of waiting, of watching, of worry. I'm tired of flipping through disorganized, overstuffed Operations and Maintenance manuals layered with charts and unintelligible diagrams and installation instructions to equipment and hardware we never have used, sifting to get to the one line in ten thousand that might shed some light on the troublesome symptom, the telltale single tiny blinking light in ten thousand that knows why this piece of hardware won't cooperate with that piece of software and enable us to get on with our lives.

And I want to know how an Apple laptop leaves Shanghai, China at 3:20 p.m. on June 10th, enters the country at Anchorage, Alaska, takes the scenic route to Memphis, Tennessee (freaking why?), arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, gets trucked a short hop north to Ogden, Utah, and makes it to my door by 10:55 a.m. on Friday, June 12th. When, of course, I was not at home. So I had to wait until Monday, when they made a second attempt and the new MacBook Pro was delivered into my hands.

At first I wasn't sure we were going to get along; I've had to assign and adjust various things to get it to do certain functions that a P.C. does automatically, and I think it's absolutely ridiculous that the options of whatever program you're working in are at the top of the screen on an extra bar instead of in the window you're using. It doesn't give me as much information or options without my asking for them as Windows did, and I had gotten used to having certain information available. But the mail client is slick (even though I still have to check a few accounts online, including the incompatible Hotmail), the track pad is phenomenal, the screen is delicious (I can wipe it! With Fantastic, if I want!), bright and clear and not ridiculously fragile, the automatic backlit keyboard is so glamorous, the hard aluminum shell is sleek and about as low-profile as you get, and the battery lasts literally for hours, up to seven if I'm not taxing it with Webcam. And it's all so very, very speedy.

It's imperative that I love my laptop. This is the machine that will know more about me than any living person, the machine that will see more of me than my family. This is the machine I'll tell my secrets to; the machine that will know what I Google when I'm home alone on a Sunday night, bored (usually, apparently, Thai recipes and instructions on how to make your own laser cutter out of a broken scanner and some additional hardware). This is the invention that allows me to keep track of the family and friends I rarely see; the incredible cousin in Colorado -- worthy to be any family's pride and joy, aren't we lucky she's ours? -- who is setting up her very first band room as we speak, the girls in San Diego (who are very likely going to see me -- and a living bonus prize -- sooner than they think), Mom (who now owns a pair of genuine black leather Harley Davidson chaps and who recently endured both a Big & Rich concert -- which she loved -- and Trapt with Collective Soul -- which was a different story, a long one -- in the same week), and the wonderful Wyoming people at Point and the Lazy J and Laramie, and in Arizona and Omaha and beyond.

So as soon as I find my camera buried in the rubble of the house I tore apart trying to prevent B.C. from swallowing a gob of his own shed fur, you'll have pictures of outdoor concerts and desert rainstorms and a Scrabble board or two, and the new MacBook Pro, whose name is Daryl Zero. I named him after Bill Pullman's brilliant but difficult private detective in Zero Effect, which you should all run out and see right away  if you haven't, a) because it's Bill Pullman (who cultivates an exotic orchard in a bowl in the Hollywood Hills, no foolin') and b) it's hilarious.

Tired. Cranky. Restless. Swear the second hand on my kitchen clock occasionally makes a few hops backwards and then takes one giant leap forward. Love the cotton from the cottonwood trees floating down like snowflakes, clogging the grass with fluffy white gobs. Love the hedges brimming with Austrian copper roses and the little yellow wild roses Gram's sister planted at Point. I've been walking a lot. I've been down a lot, horribly, violently down (oh, so it wasn't the pill after all. Dang). But nothing will stop me from achieving everything I've set forth to do this year, and as of tonight it's already half over, and I'm only about one-fifth done.

But first, sleep.


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