Friday, January 28, 2011

The Luddite Chronicles

I knew the moment was coming. Slowly things were giving way. And then it happened; the fan died. I had to get a new computer. Ugh.

I think it’s quite safe to say that I am not an early adopter. I never rush out to buy the latest gadget and I am not impressed or distracted by new technology. I’ve never purchased a TV for myself and only got a cell phone when I moved to San Francisco because the person I lived with hadn’t put in a landline. Even in the arts, I rarely prefer the modern.

So, for me, when I have to get a new computer (and I’ve kept each of my laptops for 4+ years), I feel like a 1950s housewife on a car lot. Of course, helpful friends try to give advice, but so often the people that actually know something about technology are the ones most distracted by shiny toys and apt to recommend what they would want, and not what you really need. I had a boyfriend like that. It didn’t last.

Of course, I’m grateful for the advice, because I really have no idea what the difference between processors means, but I must admit it gets tiring to hear that I must have this or that, like I’ll die without it. You must get an iPhone. You must get a Kindle. Admittedly, this may be much worse in the Bay Area where most of these things are made, but I don’t feel like foodies or clothes hounds do this to the same extent.  It’s truly mystifying to me that people can seem so invested in someone else’s purchasing decisions on household items.

One thing that did make me quite happy about this shopping trip was the fact that, for the first time, money was not an object. Price was just one of several factors to consider. Of course, since I only just completed my fully funded emergency fund, I had to dip into that, and buying a new computer is not really an emergency (like Christmas presents, a new car, or new furniture, it should be a purchase you save for over time). However, I had been planning to use my upcoming bonus for this, so I don’t feel too guilty. Well, except for the fact that solving my computer woes meant missing my planned outings to the San Francisco Film Noir festival. I do feel a bit guilty about that.

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