“We don’t do any other sizes but the standard one.”
This the response I recieved from the man behind the counter at the pret i’m currently seated in. I had asked for a mega sized hazelnut both pointing to the amount of time I was going to spend in the cafe writing this article, but also a reflection of the sigh I needed after my ordeal at the apple store.
The winter of 2008 was one of fresh self discovery, I had just spent a good year out of university and was at the begining of the course in creative writing that I had enroled on. My first two years of University were spent trying to study Aerospace engineering, a dream that was not mine though carried as though it was. ‘Who would care about English as a subject when the whole world spoke it?’. This the question that tethered me to the mast while the sirens (Sassoon, Wordsworth, Plath, Coleridge, Armitage, amongst many others) called out to me with the sweet melody of prose: where words and their signifiers danced effortlessly with philosophy and sentience. I had made the break, unhooked the tether and embarked on the journey that ultimately finds me here.
Convinced that I needed it for the study, and happy with the new found sense of self, I walked into an apple store in search of a character defining machine. I didn’t care so much for reasoning, all I wanted was something that was mine for no other reason than I wanted it. That was when I saw her. Her black skin, like my own, in the vast sea of white, stood out against the backdrop of light wood, glass and whitewash walls. She was crisp, open, and calling. I was thirsty for what she oozed and was almost mystically drawn to the potential of what we could achieve once twined. I chose her, paid for her (think what you will of me, she was mine for the taking and needed liberation). Pleased with my purchase, I carried the white bag – it’s emblem (the bitten apple) speaking volumes about the sense of internal indignation mixed with excitement that coursed with the adrenaline through my capillaries.
These five odd years since then have passed quickly. Countless lecture notes, short films, articles, and a dissertation have been mused and written in her presence. I had to forgive my little sister for breaking her screen (which proved very expensive to replace) and recently my wife for liberating one of her keys. Slowly, and almost inevitably, she grew old and weary. Her contemporaries died and were replaced by new models but she pressed on: I persevered with her (loyal). Even when the thinner younger version was made available (ipad2), I still did the bulk of my work with her.
So it was with a deep sadness that I brought her in to the store for a final repair and received the words ”won’t be worth fixin’ mate” from the ‘genius behind the bar’ (there is plenty I could say about the ill treatment I recieved in the apple store but that would be undignifying for the moment). Mourning and indignant, I wrapped her in the bag they gave me, unwilling to let her be seen in their store, held her close and gently carried her to the car – where she rests till we get back home.
How existential can one get about a computer dying?
I may be the only one who has particular points to which they can pin the beginning of a positive change in their lives. What I contemplate now as I have the last sips of what is a cold late (thanks to this long post) is the death of a symbol. My Macbook was, and represented, the break from homogeny. It presents (presented – sad times) the moment I took stock of the uniqueness of my fingerprint, the moment I realised I had a voice to explore and discover, the moment I became Adide (in all it’s complexities known or unknown). Her slow death, which has began, represents an end: the end of my physical tether to that pinpoint (it evaporates into a memory – unreliable as that is).
As I type this on my iPad, she sits in a cold boot. I sit in a warm cafe. A catalyst to my becoming shed as in the stages of rocket launch. It is a sad moment that is coupled to a wellspring of hope.
I leave you now so that I may grieve. Hopefully to return happier.