I'm a woman torn.
Though my job forces me to exist in the world of technology, my brain does not naturally take to it. If it paid the same, believe me, I would happily be a horse groomer, the second wife in a polygamous sect (less pressure) or have my own daytime talk show.
My day job requires me to work on a company-issued laptop, a PC. As a lifelong Mac owner, this originally offended my sensibilities but after nearly eight years in the Biz, I've grown somewhat attached. In fact, I now understand why people have workplace affairs. You spend 50 hours a week with someone, you get used to their personality and yes, you might even start to like them. You might even come to - gulp! - depend on them.
When the time came to buy another computer, I asked around and discovered that humanity is passionately divided into very strict PC/Mac teams, not unlike the Ford/Chevy, Broncos/Raiders and morning people/night people teams. Ultimately, after the urging of my best friend, Lisa, and my best buddy, Fang (who promised to be my own personal Mac Computer Service center), I invested in the G4 laptop which was thin, silver and sleeker than anything I'd ever seen. (They even beat out my beau at the time, a game designer who was strictly PC. He still chides me about my choice.)
And so, the Mac tradition continued. When I graduated from college back in 1990 (!) Dad bought me the appropriately named Mac Classic. It's been love ever since. And when I go to hip tech events like SXSW or BlogHer, a Mac is pretty much a required accessory. After all, only stiff, square corporate goombas have PCs, right?
Trouble is, when you spend so much time on one machine, the other gets neglected and sometimes the personal items end up getting on the workplace machine. Not a good habit. So recently, I have been setting strict rules: No PC action on weeknights or weekends, Mac only. I had to restrict myself because I was starting to feel like a traitor or worse, the guy on the left.
I'm determined to get some new action going - like making lil' movies and playing around with editing on iMovie. Having spent a bunch of quality time with my iTunes and my Final Draft 6, the relationship was back on track. I even thought about signing up for the One-to-One service that Apple offers - $99 gets you your own personal creative Mac guru, one hour a week for a year. A great deal and much better than the Genius Bar which never fails to make me feel like an inbred moron.
So, earlier this week, I tried to upgrade my operating system and visited the Apple store. I bought the Leopard and the 1-to-1 and then it was brought to my attention that my laptop was so old and out-of-date (G4 purchased in 2002) that unless I bought a new computer, I was basically stuck with its limitations. In fact, it could not even handle the new system - it would have been like trying to put an outboard motor on the back of a horse.
I threw a mild tantrum at the hipster sales guy, Jason, who ultimately had the patience of a nun. Why I was in denial about the age of my Mac seems quite odd to me now. Fer chrissakes, I work in this world, why would this news such a shock? In my professional life, I'm acutely aware of how fast things change but I never really thought such rules applied to my stuff. Not my laptop!
Technology is like dog years; applying that formula, my computer is 37 years old. Definitely time for an upgrade. I now realize that I was mad at myself because I hadn't spent enough time with the G4 and it was already time to move on. She was destined to become a glorified music file holder. Sniff.
Jason, bless his bandanna-ed, pierced head, he hung in there with me, for like an hour. We talked about options - $200 for extra RAM for the old gal or save it towards a new laptop? He even had grabbed me square on the shoulders, looked deeply into my eyes and asked: "What do you want to accomplish with this machine?" My answer: "I want to make movies."
In the end, I opted to wait for some cash to pile up and vowed to return with the intent of living and creating with more modern tools. (Until, of course, they become outdated the following year.)
Before I left the Apple store, having not spent a dime, Jason pulled me aside, "Do you have a minute? Are you in a big hurry?" Ironic questions considering how much time he and I had already spent together. Jason had to show me the many, many examples of art projects made out of retired computers - fish tanks, photo frames, bombs, cat holders and so on. It was depressing but also made me feel not so alone.