For Christmas Nancy gave me a MacBook Air. It's made my life so much easier, lighter, more organized. I learned on a Mac in 1986 when the Macintosh looked like a little robot head. I've used a PC for years; somehow I never went back to the Mac after I left for college. But coming back to it now, almost 30 years later has been amazing. I take for granted that my MacBook Air is fallible; it seems so competent, capable of anything, never forgetting or deleting any of our interactions. Sometimes I forget that it's just a computer.
Last week I noticed that the little battery icon on the right hand corner of my screen was not charging. I imagined it was just a setting that I didn't understand and I took it to the Apple store to have one of the blue shirts reset it. I brought it in and talked to a high-energy red head with 1/4 inch gauges plugged into his ears and a tattoo peeking out of his shirt sleeve. The Mac store people always seem to be just a tiny bit cool, a little bit smart, and so so friendly!
While my computer booted up, my helper coached me through a different issue, a memory problem, I was having on my iPhone. When no solution on my laptop was immediately evident, he took the computer to the back room to "look inside." When he came back he was holding his phone open to a photo to demonstrate to me that my computer was swimming with coffee (on the inside). "There's coffee (or something) brown all over the inside of your computer" he said, smiling and weirdly enthusiastic.
"What?" I replied, genuinely confused. "I spilled some water last week, but I can't remember any coffee...."
Cool-Happy-Redheaded guy explained to me that I'd have to have the battery and some other panel replaced, to the tune of $755. Ouch. But I really had not choice. I have a deep love and affection for my MacBook Air and I was not going to let her go, not even for $755.
"Okay," I said, "Let's do it. How long will you keep the machine?"
Cool-Happy Redheaded Guy then got very serious. "Before you leave the computer, I need to ask you ---is there anything you can't live without on this computer."
I had a moment of panic. What would I lose on my computer? What would I die without? And then I had a Hallelujah moment, a clear split second of truth. As much as I love my computer, as much as I depend on the ease it brings to my life, there is nothing that lives within it that I can't live without. In fact, obliterating the hard drive might even be a good thing. There's probably a bunch of crap on there that, if I got rid of, would probably improve my life.
What a crazy question! What a bizarre world we live in that we use that language. Would anyone really DIE if their hard drive was expunged? The conversation begged the question-- What can't I live without? Lots of things: love, food, exercise, family, water.
I told the Apple store guy to delete it all.
As most of my close friends, family and yoga students know, I'm physically out of commission because of a knee injury I sustained surfing a few weeks ago. The doctor's orders are clear-- rest your knee or have surgery. I'm a big whiner, kind of a baby, and I'm not doing well with the physical limits I have to endure while my knee tries to heal. I miss yoga. I miss running. I miss biking.
Running is definitely out, but a few times I've tried a modified Yoga practice. Since my injury and my computer's brain damage diagnosis, I have practiced with a new gratitude, a recognition that Yoga, a place where I can clear my mental hard drive, is something I absolutely cannot live without. I've had my laptop back for five days. I'm typing this right now on my beloved, new hard-drive MacBook Air. I'm so happy to have it back, but I was also really fine, even happy without it.